Hot on the heels of his The Art Of Youth album, Pittsburgh SynthWave producer Arcade High has this week released a new EP, Beauty Queen. We really liked his album, but with this EP he seems to have stepped things up a notch including his first exploration of vocal tracks (apart from the Maddie Ardillo featuring Crush).
The EP kicks off with it’s title track. A gentle, nostalgic, easing into the proceedings. A beautiful swirl of retro sounds, a cascade of the sounds of growing up in the ‘80’s. A theme which reoccurs throughout the EP, but is most evident in the dancing melodies of Beauty Queen. Which leads us to Blacktop Rendezvous. This is the EP for us, this is the easily standout track. This is the track where Arcade High, A.K.A. Ryan Boosel, beaks out his vocal chops, and he nails it. The simple addition of an emotionally resonant, very personal, vocal elevates the track beyond what we would have expected from the EP. When we featured the video for Blacktop Rendezvous earlier in the week, we likened the track to “an ‘80’s SynthWave version of The Postal Service”. Both in songwriting and vocal style the are a lot of similarities between Boosel and the Post Service’s Ben Gibbard. The introspection, the vocal quirks that made Gibbard’s vocals so listenable are all present in Blacktop Rendezvous. Couple that with some sweet vintage ElectroPop and you have a track that worth the asking price of the whole EP alone. Dream Of Me follows and gets us back into the post-Italo SynthWave groove with an infectious groove and sparking synths. As with most of the EP, Dream Of Me is a fairly upbeat tune that conceals a layer of haunting melancholy, like the best ‘80’s tunes, which, we suppose, could be a metaphor for coming-of-age tale the EP represents. Up next is the deep romanticism of Prom Night, Everything you’d expect from this moment in an ‘80’s teen movie is present, gently swelling chimes, slow bass, and a sax solo, all adding to the ambiance that flow into the EP’s closer, You Said Forever. This final track feels like the prefect closer to the EP’s narrative. Slightly bittersweet in it’s use of deep warm synth sounds conveying a sense of sadness while a shot of optimist is introduced with the lead line. Arcade High’s début album was well received ‘round these parts, but with this new EP, he’s well and truly blown us away. Definitely something you should look into.
♫ Arcade High – Blacktop Rendezvous
♫ Arcade High – Beauty Queen
♫ Arcade High – Dream Of Me
Arcade High’s Beauty Queen EP is out now.
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