Published Sep 28, 2016The timing couldn't be better for S U R V I V E's RR7349. Not only did the Austin synth unit land a deal with the esteemed Relapse label for the release, but they were thrown into full-on Stranger Things fervour thanks to the stellar soundtrack contributions from the group's Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. But while the success of the Netflix series will no doubt leave many wanting RR7349 to be another journey into the Upside Down, S U R V I V E have instead presented a purposely different sort of trip.
From the opening digital thunderclaps of lead-off track "A.H.B.," it's clear that S U R V I V E have built up some serious sonic muscle for the four-piece's sophomore full-length, not only compared to Dixon and Stein's Stranger Things work but also the band's 2012 self-titled debut. This newfound sonic aggression will no doubt first come as a shock to some, but it ultimately works in S U R V I V E's favour.
With a varied and fascinatingly dense selection of darkened electronic passages, the album is as retro as it is modern. For every John Carpenter and Goblin reference, there are just as many nods to modern power electronics, avant-ambient and hardware-based dance music. As a result, it's an album that never repeats itself, offering up a work that plays out more like a multi-chaptered book than some simple '80s homage that's jumped the shark.
In the grand scheme of electronic synth music, S U R V I V E aren't reinventing any new wheels with RR7349, but they are slapping some fancy new treads on it, proving the genre still has plenty of room to grow when in the right hands. (Relapse)