‘Cowgirls & Synthesizers’ is the amusing 2023 docufilm by the quirky Texan synth do HYPERBUBBLE.

Comprising of married couple Jessica and Jeff DeCuir, ‘Cowgirls & Synthesizers’ traces their two decade career and the true-story of how HYPERBUBBLE drove to Nashville to record a Country and Western album ‘Western Ware’ using only synthesizers, drum machines and theremin!

Directed by Joe Wallace, with noted musical mischief maker Ricardo Autobahn narrating, commentary is provided by Samantha Newark of cult cartoon series ‘Jem & The Holograms’, Manda Rin of BIS, SHOES, FREEZEPOP and OUR DAUGHTERS WEDDING while somewhere along the way, HYPERBUBBLE end up winners in Dolly Parton’s Netflix song contest with their version of ‘Jolene’ as part of the promotion for her series ‘Heartstrings’.

It all sounds crazy but as Jeff DeCuir once said to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK in 2014: “Synthesizers with their pitch bend and portamento really lend themselves to that country twang! And the first three letters of ‘Moog’ spell MOO!” – and that recollection has not only ended up in the film but also the soundtrack album!

The record is packed full of fun and captures the essence of the film, beginning with the speedy electro-blueglass of the ‘Cowgirls & Synthesizers’ title song and its shopping list of iconic synths. Meanwhile, ‘Bionic Girl’ continues in the same frantic spirit if based around a more Sci-Fi aesthetic

One of the highlights is ‘Will You Spin For Me?’, a 1984 song originally recorded by SHOES who while known as power pop guitar band, actually had an interim period as a more synth-driven new wave act; here HYPERBUBBLE do fairly faithful cover with SHOES gamely providing backing vocals over the buzzy backdrop.

In 2021, HYPERBUBBLE did a remix of Samantha Newark’s ‘Hologram’ and they pay tribute to her on ‘I Was a Teenage Jem Girl’ and at the end, the lady herself mentions how ‘Jem & The Holograms’ had a live drummer before HYPERBUBBLE celebrate the joys of their ‘Little Drum Machine’; and while Roger Linn’ once posed ironically posed with a sticker that said “DRUM MACHINES HAVE NO SOUL”, the irony has been the since DEPECHE MODE opted to use a numbskull Drumhead, all the soul has gone from their mechanically driven classics when performed live!

Another cover comes in the shape of the OUR DAUGHTER’S WEDDING instrumental ‘Digital Cowboy’ with their own Scott Simon guesting on synth while not a cover, ‘Hyperactive Moviemix’’ concludes with a mad synth barrage and a solo snatch of their best known tune ‘Candy Apple Daydreams’!

The mood changes with ‘No Time To Say Goodbye’ which is a murder ballad in the classic folk tradition but with fabulously ghostly Theremin solo but when ‘Bionic Girl’ is reprised as an authentic “Bluegrass Version”, it acts as a fitting bookend to in validate their cross-genre adventure.

At just under half an hour, with its genre bending antics and places where no synth duo has gone before, ‘Cowgirls & Synthesizers’ is a fun and wacky experience, just like its parent docufilm. HYPERBUBBLE straddle that fine line between deserving an award or a straitjacket, but that is why they so appealing…

The ‘Cowgirls & Synthesizers’ soundtrack album is released by ArtLabTX films Label, available as a yellow vinyl LP, CD and download via https://hyperbubble.bandcamp.com/album/cowgirls-and-synthesizers-original-motion-picture-soundtrack







Text by Chi Ming Lai
21 March 2024