The good old days of lo-fi synth pop are back – as if they were ever gone – with Los Angeles band Second Still unleashing their EP “Equals” into a land of neon lights and shadows just like it was 1984 all over again. Not an Orwellian 1984, of course, but more the sonic landscape that you would have expected of a low budget sci-fi movie made in 1984.
There is a stylistic monotony to the music of Second Still but it is a deliberate choice as their desire to create only within the confines of what used to be the limits of technology past makes their music seem something of a monochrome addition to our colour corrected world. This is, of course, to be expected of the coldwave genre and much in line with the output of the band’s better known European contemporaries yet there is something else going on here. The use of a female voice to decorate the oppressive sequenced beats and cascading guitars that power these five songs is hardly unique but Suki San is no distorted damsel in distress drowning in distant reverb. She is, instead, the organic element that, whilst adding a touch of mascara glamour, gives these songs a soul with “Automata” benefitting most from her ethereal presence.
It would seem that variety isn’t the spice of life after all for this downbeat example of the coldwave genre still manages to whet your appetite for more. “Equals” therefore is but isn’t, if you get my meaning or, to put it another way, Jack Deth is back and he's never even been here before.