NEW ARCADES are Dean Canty and Adam Sullivan, a synth powered duo from London reimagining an era when they might have been soundtracking Brat Pack movies.
With liberal use primarily of synth based textures, but also occasionally integrating guitars and cleverly programmed live drum feels, their most highest profile release to date has been ‘Irreparable’, an enjoyable AOR flavoured trioet with German songstress NINA and her percussionist Laura Fares. Making music since 2013, NEW ARCADES have already released a couple of EPs which have been welcomed within the synthwave community; one interesting aspect about the duo’s output is that they eschew remixes and this ethos of getting it right first time is interesting in a market place where dance reworks and instrumental versions are common place.
But now comes the important step of widening their reach with a new 5 track EP entitled ‘Nothing Is Lost’. The key track is ‘Inhale’ featuring the sultry vocal presence Lula; a brilliantly cinematic pop tune with a pulsing backbone and (Shock! Horror!) tempo changes, ‘Inhale’ wouldn’t have sounded out of place on ‘The Breakfast Club’, ‘Some Kind Of Wonderful’ or ‘St Elmo’s Fire’. It showcases Canty and Sullivan’s songwriting potential if nothing else.
The EP is bookended by two marvellous instrumentals ‘Afterlight’ and ‘Our Place In The Stars’; the titles are self-explanatory but demonstrate how NEW ARCADES grasp the importance of voicing in music. This might sound a bit odd when no singing is actually taking place, but often synthwave instrumentals can just drift along with a neon backdrop and not much else takes place. Again, taking in rhythmic respite and ensuring that their synth lines have hooks and counterpoints, Canty and Sullivan have an intuitive approach to arrangement and production.
With Canty taking the lead vocals on the remaining two songs, ‘Wait For Tonight’ is an enjoyable widescreen number with a hazy sunny glitz that recalls Aussie duo CLIENT LIAISON, although the tune might have benefitted from using a contributing female vocalist in the chorus.
However, ‘We Can’t Turn Back’ takes the AOR elements that are often prevalent in synthwave a bit too far, with the very loud electronic drums likely to take someone’s head off! But when some acts can’t even produce one decent track, to be have three excellent ones on a single long form EP is most welcome.
Unsurprisingly given the dramatic aura of their music, NEW ARCADES have been already featured in cult films such as ‘Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong’ and ‘A Light Beneath Their Feet’. They could go even further and are certainly up there with Toronto-based Glaswegian MICHAEL OAKLEY in terms of achievable crossover appeal.
‘Nothing Is Lost’ is released on 27th April 2018, available as a CD, cassette or download from https://newarcades.bandcamp.com
NEW ARCADES appear at the Outland Glasgow 2018 Retro Party Extravaganza at The Classic Grand on Saturday 5th May with MICHAEL OAKLEY, TIMECOP 1983, VHS DREAMS and many more, tickets available from https://tickets-scotland.com/outla
Text by Chi Ming Lai
26th April 2018