If you, like any decent human being, hold nothing but fondness for your old Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and Human League albums, we have good news. Synth-pop is back, and it is fucking good. While no one is sure exactly what to call it (Synth-core? Electroclash? New electro?), the Moonshine label dubs the growing movement “electro nouveau” and has served up a two-disk sampler of the same name. The compilation includes genre pioneers Felix Da Housecat and Ladytron, with promising new arrivals Freezepop and Mount Sims. There’s also a triumphant return of Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and even familiar names like Gus Gus and Bis wander in.
While this group of artists clearly claims similar new wave influences, the range of interpretations yields a musical selection ironically far more diverse than ’80s progenitors. Chicks on Speed’s cover of “Euro Trash Girl” starts the first disk out on a high that never lets up. Funk inspired bass and dirty distortion surface in Laptop’s “Greatest Hits.” Felix Da Housecat’s melodic, robo-chic “Madame Hollywood” grants the requisite depths of glam and decadence to complete the collection.
This extremely palatable compilation represents something more than the newest flavor of parasitic retro-ism. These days, continuously budding and unnecessarily complex sub-genres of electronic music evolve, but a growing handful of artists take their shiny sequencers and aging vocoders back to Casiotone roots. Now, who can argue with Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s prophetic slogan, “History will prove us right”?
The Matt-Lisa Hivemind is waiting for recorders to become retro.