Review: The Moody 80’s Nostalgia of Men With Secrets Debut ‘Psycho Romance & Other Spooky Ballads’
Men With Secrets | Psycho Romance & Other Spooky Ballads | The Bunker New York
Release Date: 31 January, 2020
The recent resurgence of 80’s inspired sounds in both the electronic and alternative music realms has been welcomed by many: from those who experienced the rise of genres such as the bittersweet, reverb-soaked melancholia of post-punk, the earworm hooks of new-wave and synth-drenched pop hits first hand as they grew up – or those who have come to appreciate them in recent years as the strong foundations for today’s electronic and rock genres.
With many artists turning to the powerful influence of these genres with a refreshing contemporary twist, Men With Secrets stand out as a bold new outfit in the electronic realm. Born from a collective love and appreciation of the iconic, classic 80’s sounds – Men With Secrets, perhaps surprisingly for some – consist of leading figures in the techno world. The trio, made up of acclaimed Italian producers Donato Dozzy and duo Retina.it (consisting of Lino Monaco and Nicola Buono): Men With Secrets stray from the artists previous works – including their collaboration as techno trio Le Officine Di Efesto – making their debut album ‘Psycho Romance & Other Spooky Ballads’ all the more vivid and distinct.
An assertive rhythmic beat cloaked in the shadowy cover of nightfall drives ‘The Misfortunes Of Virtues‘ in a steady gothic grin, stuttering synths pulsing as alien bullets; a pensive science-fiction feel surrounding the extraterrestrial fluctuation of distorted electronics. Reminiscent of retro video games soaked in 80’s nostalgia, the elaborate blend of textures fashion an immersive atmosphere; gleaming with recurrent determination, an auditory traverse swollen with pumping adrenaline – energetic and self-assured, the track glitter with a space-age submerge into labyrinthine walls of sound.
The introduction of ‘Angelus Novus‘ nurses an anxious anticipation; airy electronic droplets falling upon the kick-drum lungs of a lush, rhythmic beat; interrupted by a vigorous cyber-stammer, a potent progression in it’s forceful digital dance. Swells of ghostly synths circle the driving beat, the soundscape haunting and drenched in an ethereal midnight trance; the submerge of cold, spectral vocals sing within the darkest depths of a starry soundscape – the gloomy romanticism of low, distant vocals bursting with post-punk melancholia. The moody hypnotism of ‘Angelus Novus‘ broods with the aura of smoky, underground alternative clubs; attendees all dressed in black, entry only after midnight – lit with rich red lights or otherwise cloaked in a murky darkness, the track could easily be welcomed as a gothic dancefloor hit.
‘Aletheia‘ glimmers with synthwave ecstasy; a vibrant iridescence swirls lovingly within the buoyant soundscape, the vivacious energy glistening with signature 80’s catchy pop-hooks – immediately iconic bands such as New Order spring to mind: with the heavy, reverb soaked vocals mirroring the underworld love-songs of The Cure‘s Robert Smith. ‘Aletheia’ could easily be mistaken as a track lifted straight out of the dark alternative 80’s peak, yet blends the elements of lively new-wave synth-pop (destined to immediately pull listeners onto the dancefloor) with the obscure, temperamental darkness perhaps likened to earlier acts such as Joy Division.
Rating: 7.5 / 10
Feature Image: Men With Secrets (live)