synth pop / new romantic / synthwave / sophisti-pop
More like this – Ice Choir’s “Unprepared”; early Depeche Mode, Roxy Music’s Avalon, ABC’s Lexicon of Love, Duran Duran’s Rio
Part of a new column on the highlights of my search through the oceans of 80s synth pop-inspired modern music. I give special focus to albums with a creative or genuine approach, along with hidden gems.
Kurt Feldman’s Ice Choir project is one of the most accurate recreations of the original new romantic/synth pop sound I’ve heard, one with a refreshing lack of irony. The synths have a glittery, almost pastel sheen to match the pink of the cover – complete with hints of fretless bass and Cocteau guitar, Afar’s sound design should be a treat for anyone fond of romantic 80s pop. To top it off, Kurt Feldman’s vocals resemble Martin from Depeche Mode, if having a more refined tone.
The resulting songs are incredibly blissful in such a way that fits well with the grandiose luxury of hit albums like Lexicon of Love or Avalon. With both relentless energy and soaring melodies, I’m convinced “Two Rings” is one of the most extravagant synth pop songs to come from this decade. “Peacock On The Tall Grass” brings some of those angelic yacht-like heights of sophisti-pop to mind. The chorus of “Teletrips”, meanwhile, is the musical equal of a utopian morning walk.