With a love and hard crush on Hans Zimmer and John Carpenter, retro-wave synthplay, and 80’s kitsch culture from Airwolf to Top Gun to Teen Wolf to Tron, you might get just a hint of its sound. With a lead track called ‘Super Mullets’, and Tangerine Dream artwork, that hint might be a certified statement. United Simesky Institutes’ self-titled debut is a neon soaked wet dream of sonics.
And that love and hard crush is so heartfelt. These aren’t just imitations of old tones and lost soundtracks, though their imprints are more than all over, every track holds a wealth of 80’s offshoot sub-genres from new-wave to synth-prog to pop.
‘Hazard in the Machine’ is pure OutRun, a high shine of new life in 16-bit drag strips where Lamborghinis chew asphalt at sundown. ‘Super Mullets’, which could be one bodacious band name, throws in Beverly Hills Cop II bass lines and rhythms, and the full set of retro’s ablaze. It’s going to be tough not to write up each track, there’s just too many sweet spots to mention.
For that Zimmer-style slow pace and prog, head for ‘Teorema de Existencia’, or both parts of ‘Alone in the Wind’. These are think-aloud workouts of romance end-credits, if Johnny 5 jilted Gizmo’s love interests. And if that don’t make you feel like you’ve been cutting onions, then maybe you don’t have a soul. For industrial arpeggios and post Skynet blow-outs, shift your eardials to ‘Arpanet Logical Map’. It’s a smoothly disorientating piece of sci-fi slow warning that twists through its textures and changes.
And if there’s one robo-rabbit-hole that’s as yet unexplored, welcome to ‘Dream of Entropy’. What begins as a fully-fledged Genesis backing track, which I’m (Top)gunning to add extra vocals to, ends up as something between Postal Service and latest Robyn, in a tropical sub-pop kissed bliss. It might be the lightest, most breezy thing here, but it’s that ease that makes it all so appealing.
There’s no dust anywhere on this album, not a single rough edge, spec of grit or worn sound. Even in the vocals that only show once, on the LP’s bonus track once downloaded (which at €4, there is no excuse), there’s a neatness to brand new dynamics. Is that last track a hint of John Foxx/ Blancmange yet to come? Let’s hold up and hang fire for what’s next…