Anyone who’s heard the name S U R V I V E is aware of the current revival of ’70s and ’80s era synth music. The Strange Things composers tapped into a nostalgic fascination with the darker side of synth music and helped bring it to the masses. Their take on the sounds, however, has been very intentionally cinematic; what happens when you take that evocative aesthetic and update it with modern electropop sensibilities? Well, you get darkDARK.
On the band’s debut EP, Heathered, the production pair of Genevieve Vincent and Chris James explore electronic pop music that alludes to the past and the future simultaneously. A track like “Fake It” could easily be the score to a ’70s thriller, except the harmonies are too beautifully breathy and the electric guitar solo too ripping. “Restless” is inches away from a Carly Rae Jepsen track if it weren’t for all that reverb and the fact that it’s actually Haley Bonar on vocals, and the guitar work on “Stay Close” calls to mind Twin Shadow. Meanwhile, opener “Moments” skitters more like a present day EDM track than anything remotely “throwback”. None of that is to say anything about Heathered is derivative; quite the opposite, in fact. darkDARK have managed to harken to all sorts of phases in electronic music’s history in a way that feels wholly original and forward thinking.
“We wanted Heathered to take you in different directions emotionally,” the band tells Consequence of Sound. “We spent a lot of time on the production to try to make each song an environment for you to step into. The record revolves around relationships — everything from the first moments with someone, which can be so amazing and fleeting, to the times where you’ve forgotten who you both are, change, and evolve. The name Heathered — memories and moments between two people are like specs and shades.”