Everything By Electricity – High

Let’s just get right to it…High is an anthemic Electropop jam. Everything By Electricity rarely misses and High is no exception. The track teases with 10 seconds of pulsating synths before the bass beats kick in. At this point I am primed and ready, and Emi’s dreamy vocals bring it on home. Folks, we’ve got an early summer jam right here in the vein of Chromatics and Chvrches and I don’t drop those names lately.

Johan Baeckström – Come With Me

It took me all of three notes to say ‘SWEET, a new OMD track’! But wait, then it kicked into gear and I heard a more modern Synth sound and I found myself saying please don’t be one of those tracks where the music is amazing and then the vocals come in and ruin it. Well, that’s not happening here! What a pleasant surprise coming across this lovely little synthpop nugget.

City Calm Down – Rabbit Run

Another in a line of great new tracks from future John Hughes’ soundtracks…City Calm Down’s Rabbit Run could have easily highlighted the angst of Watts, pining for her buddy Keith while he romanced the snobby Amanda Jones. This is a jangly Post-Punk track that bridges the gap between the sound of 80’s throwbacks like Furniture, Flesh For Lulu and The Psychedelic Furs with modern purveyors like Mode Moderne, DIIV and Beach Fossils.

Azure Blue – Every Ending Story

Azure Blue plays slightly-twee synthy new wave which would appeal to fans of the Junica, Trembling Blue Stars, and Lightning Seeds. This song, “Every Ending Story”, is from this Swedish band’s new EP and is among my favorites by them. I could imagine hearing this ’80s-style tune being played over the closing credits of a…

SynthDecade – Lighten Up The Darkness

Admittedly, we listen to a lot of Depeche Mode-sounding bands here at Chez Strangeways, and lucky for us this German band is among the Depeche-iest. SynthDecade has a few great songs, including this one, which reminds me a little of DM’s ʺWalking in My Shoes.ʺ This song has a very late ’80s/early ’90s DM feel, including the dark uptempo feel, the vocal effects, the chord changes, and the occasional unexpected bloops, bleeps, and twang that keep it all very interesting during repeated listening.

Analog – Melodies From Memory

The song takes you back to the analog synthpop of the early/mid ’80s. Then you look at the associated picture of the band mates, and it fits perfectly, with an aqua-colored skinny tie and headband complementing their black shirts and serious looks on their faces. Great stuff. Parts of this Toronto band’s song really reminds me of Berlin’s ʺMasqueradeʺ. The synths twinkle, buzz, fade, and swell throughout the song with really nicely interwoven vocals during the final minute.

In Letter Form – Reflecting The Rain

Set the wayback machine to the UK in the mid-’80s, and get ready to sway to an excellent dark melodic pop song reminiscent of Modern English, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Joy Division (plus some of the newer purveyors of this sound like the Graveyard Club). The melancholy of Eric Miranda’s deep vocals and his lyrics about tears reflecting the rain are offset by the intricately layered upbeat synth-tinged, bass-driven alt pop-rock.

Dreams Divide – Filth

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.