Friday, 11 May 2012

LAST DAYS OF 1984 WAKE UP TO THE WAVES

Last Days of 1984 sound lovely. Their new album Wake Up To The Waves (released 7th May on Osaka Records) is a good indication of just how lovely they are.

First song 'Francois Truffaut-Event Sociologique' lays down a funky, rhythm-laden bassline, supporting some powerful afro-tropical percussion. Those delicious percussive flavours, shakers and bongos and whatever else, are something of a constant for the band. Being quite noticed in the acoustic-guitar-supported 'Safari'. Third track on the album, it adds a certain mellowness - with its interplanetary campfire vibe and warm harmonies - to the parade of sunny, energy-soaked songs.

As the opener is kept in a steady house beat all the way through, we are entertained by the floating, delay-heavy guitars and electronic noises that sound like spectral-cosmic intects chirruping in some otherworldly night scene. Happy to hear the thin vocals, at once sounding as if the guy is standing 100 metres from the microphone, very much like Animal Collective (whom I love).

Like the second song, 'River's Edge' (which you may've heard before, having been released last summer), they utilise a wonderful dynamic that sees them switching between simplistic minimalism and electro-complex soundscape affairs. About halfway through 'River's Edge' there's this amazing distorted noise that pierces through the coziness of the track, dissonant and vicious, giving way to a bubbling underwater sound. Remember Sonic the Hedgehog? You know the sound he made underwater when you swam into a bubble? That strange 'bow-wop' of sucking in more air? That's what some of the noises in this song are like.

It's wonderfully obtuse with pop-sensitive vocals. And also just as pop-driven is the dancehall-esque booze cruise that is 'Wave Life'. It's tiki lights, Orangina, cocktails, colourful music. The vocals swim in and out of it like fish alternatively scarpering and lazing around under the crystal gaze of a glass-bottomed boat, one decked out for a tropical haven party, however.

Listen to the album, Wake Up To The Waves, here on SoundCloud

I very much enjoy the Baleric synths that start track four, 'Kismat' (much like the following track, 'Season', which does a similar thing, but slightly slower and in a more subdued way) - then comes a strong 4/4 beat. Again there's the same sound from 'River's Edge', a watery, sharp and destructive synth. But this time it persists, held down like a train alarm till it explodes into different streams, joining together again to become its coherent, laser-like oneness. No vocals, just pure instrumental.

'Season' is like some kind of lovesong to the coast, to the sea and the beaches. This kind of music belongs just there: in the sunny wash of coastal empires that are buffeted by the warm winds of leisure and pleasure. Then we move away from the coast to album closer, 'Woods'.

The kick has this light crunch after its initial pounding sound, a great detail, reminiscent of heavy footsteps in sand. As I write this I am convincing myself to book a holiday. Somewhere hot. This album is stunningly beautiful and not so epic as to become too emotionally driven. 'Woods' has this distorted synth going to work throughout, and these fuzzy slaps of a snare that catch you and reel you today's catch. You can almost smell the barbecue fizzling in the grand cathedralic oranges and pinks that soar in the sky like mighty murals. That's what 'Woods' is all about: watching the sun go down. A fitting finish.

Need I say more?

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• Last Days of 1984 on Facebook
Follow them on Twitter
• Listen to their stuff on SoundCloud
• And BandCamp, too, why not.
This is the page for Osaka Records
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