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Suburban Spell - Falling Down (Suburban Spell Records)

4 December 2023

While there has been an 80s electronica revival going on for a while now, it has been tingled with the nostalgic sentimentality of a synth-pop sound from a time that never really happened, and the fruits of such backward glancing and historical rewriting have been less than rewarding. But if that vision of bygone electronica is by and large soft and seductive, it is to the previous decade that the more interesting, formative sounds were found.

And it is in this era that Australia’s Suburban Spell finds inspiration, not least because he is standing on more solid ground. In those more complex tones, brutal beats, and abrasive sounds, he finds the sonic reference points that he needs to fashion a type of industrial pop music. And if the fashionable term today for the genre he finds himself navigating is synthwave, this is far from most of the music found in that realm. This is music that sits easily alongside those early, disenfranchised punk pioneers who had sold their guitars and embraced the new keyboard technologies, and echoes of the likes of OMD, Gary Numan and Kraftwerk are never far from the surface. It is hard, confrontational and challenging, yet melodic and full of groove.

From the title track’s exploration of the consequences of bad habits to “Bright Gold Cross” and discussions about redemption and moral cleansing within the church, and from taking the wrong paths in love with “12 Causes of Pain” to the general commentary of the fragility of the suburban lifestyle that runs through all of Peter Endall’s work, this is more than the mere dance music that it appears to be.

If you like high-energy dance music with something to say, music that is both slightly nostalgic yet brilliantly forward-thinking, music that is built of cool, clinical sounds yet offers a warm and beguiling embrace, Falling Down in particular, and Suburban Spell, in general, are for you.

Falling Down EP
Salvation Army


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