Published Feb 14, 2019After releasing albums in his native Poland with experimental rock bands Kyst and Coldair, up-and-comer Tobiasz Biliński has tried his hand at the solo synth-pop game under the name Perfect Son — and come up with a frankly very strong debut. Part new wave, part synth-wave, generally goth-tinged, Cast is a coldly beautiful effort that should appeal to anyone with a taste for moody, sophisticated synth-pop.
The 1980s definitely hover over this album, but Biliński impresses with a style all his own here. Sure, there are big Tears For Fears-style drums during some of the mid-tempo numbers, and darkly florid synth pads in the vein of Depeche Mode now and then, but it all sounds authentic, as opposed to just a collection of empty references.
Biliński's higher-pitched vocal range helps set him apart from the usual baritone deliveries of so many goth-leaning synth-rockers these days as well, which is refreshing.
Every track has something to recommend it, but in terms of highlights, one would have to include the euphoric crescendo of "Promises" (delivered after an excellent build during the bridge), as well as the towering guitar arpeggios of early highlight "Lust." Both tracks have a sort of John Hughes soundtrack feel to them, a generalized nod towards a whole smattering of '80s tropes and idioms that is never quite made explicit.
Intentional or not, Biliński manages to do this often, accessing the decade's DNA in a satisfyingly elliptical way that never sounds gimmicky. His songwriting is excellent throughout as well, with structured but never repetitive forms that are always leading to some worthwhile payoff. Cast nails both style and substance; an exciting debut. (Sub Pop)