From the moment you hear the syncopated beats you are thinking some kind of 80’s dance jam ala Blue Monday or Bizarre Love Triangle is on the way. Not exactly, as the song settles in to a more chilled groove with slightly disaffected vocals – but that is kind of the charm of The Radio Dept. As the song continues, the bouncy synths invoke Royksopp and Technique-era New Order.
Happiness is…a new IAMX single! Nobody quite lays down the sinister synth beats like former Sneaker Pimps frontman Chris Corner. Happiness is…the fact that the b-side of the single is a remix of the title track by fellow dark synth purveyor Gary Numan.
Sometimes it all just comes together. In this case, the interplay of outstanding vocals, dark lyrics complementing bright twinkling synths, glossy production and all make this a fantastic synthpop song worthy of ’90s-era Depeche Mode. Other ’90s synthpop bands that this reminds me of include Echoing Green, Brave New World, and Neuropa. In particular, the chorus just soars you into the stratosphere.
“Onto Something”, the dreamy opening synthpop track on Soviet’s new third album, would’ve been part of a perfect driving soundtrack in a convertible sports car on a summer night in the mid-1980s while watching the city lights reflect off the glass and steel of modern L.A.