- by Rob Taylor Rating:8 Release Date:2016-09-30 Label: Relapse Records
S U R V I V E are a four piece out of Austin Tx, around since 2009 but in recent times gaining traction because of compositions featured in the Netflix show, Stranger Things, the 1980s nostalgia piece, part horror and part naïve drama.
RR7349 has much in common with the soundtrack work, and in itself could be mistaken for a lost classic, kept in the can because its parent images never made it through pre-production. There’s enough substance in these wholly electronic tracks to avoid the pitfalls of soundtracks; that being where central themes can dominate, and music is consigned to a meaningless vacuum because the accompanying image is absent. Neither problem exists here.
Part O.M.D, part Tangerine Dream and part the commercial appeal of Depeche Mode, S U R V I V E have the capacity to build resilient electronic anthems, finding the right balance between cheesy keyboards and evocatively dark themes. There's also the liberal use of something like an Electro-Harmonix SmallClone Chorus Unit to approximate a choral effect (See ‘Cutthroat’ for instance). ‘High Rise’ has undercurrents of electroclash, and a kind of three-dimensional soundstage hurtling sounds across the spectrum like a sound affects free-for-all. So plenty of variety then.
‘Low Fog’ is quite haunting with the ominous buzzing sounds repeated in changing tones, humming incessantly and trailing off only very slowly to reinforce that there is no escape, from whatever there’s no escaping from. ‘Copter’ is altogether brighter, and therefore thematically different.
Lots of fun and a fitting representation of S U R V I V E’s talent.