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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Jun 12th, 2017

Alphaville: Strange Attractor

Alphaville
Strange Attractor

(Universal Music LLC)

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The last time we heard from 80’s synth pop icons Alphaville, it was 2010 and they had just released Catching Rays On Giant, which capitalized heavily on the emergence of EDM into mainstream music and thus, its subsequent trending and almost constant presence. It’s hard to believe it’s been 7 years, but they’re back again and this time, the few club hits are supplemented by a few mellower tracks.

The album starts with the dark and contemplative “Giants,” which is slow and unexpectedly beautiful in its textures, a perfect opener. This was the track that made me fall down a vintage synth rabbit hole via Google, wondering if they’ve hung onto their Roland Jupiter 8 after all these years (I never got a solid answer on this and can only hope). Then things pick up speed and we’re back on the dance floor with “Marionettes With Halos,” which I can only describe as delightfully stompy. You can almost smell the fog machine.

I got two songs into the album and was already excitedly telling all my synth geek friends about Alphaville’s new one, so they clearly must have done something right. From here things get even more diverse.

“Around The Universe” is today’s equivalent of an 80’s pop ballad, but with a little less reverb and wonderfully crafted vocal harmonies in its chorus. “Forever Young” it is not, but it doesn’t have to be. It stands on its own.

Another one of my favorites is “Sexyland” in part due to its campy title. The driving, wailing guitars coupled with the completely unbridled passion in Marian Gold’s vocals make it feel so delightfully retro. “Rendezvoyeur” is also really fun, especially the finger snaps and the shuffle beat. And finally, you have to hear “Heartbreak City,” which sounds like Nile Rodgers was somehow in on it, as his influence is unmistakable.  This was the album’s first single and it’s definitely a highlight. It’s funky and poppy but still sounds like Alphaville.

Unfortunately, Alphaville only has a few US concert dates for their tour this summer, in Houston, San Jose, and LA (I may have to go on a road trip). However, they have a lot of really cool media on their website, including a fan club blog and a very comprehensive discography which also features lead singer Marian Gold’s solo albums. I love the fact that they’ve continued as a band since the 80’s and have adapted to the changing music industry. I really like the new album and  I think most fans of their older albums will like it too.

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Alphaville: Strange Attractor