French and Retro-Awesome
Fresh up on Gran Blanc Records is the sophomore album by synth artist Anoraak, titled Chronotropic. Starting in 2008 with the release of an EP, Anoraak’s (name used by French artist Frédéric Rivière) solo career was only meant to be an experiment in sound, but it’s spanned into five years of critically successful releases and tours. Now, with a solid bassist (Baudouin Marnez) and drummer (Guillaume Marnez), Anoraak are a strong trio of talented musicians. As with their other work, Chronotropic provides a stellar musical experience.
Chronotropic provides a fun romp back to the era when huge hair and funky clothes were worn sincerely and great tunes were just every day occurrences: a happier (pop-culturally, at least) time generally known as the ’80s. Anoraak’s vocals could belong to a number of our forlorn ’80s heroes, and sometimes you can’t tell if you’re listening to The Cure or the Say Anything soundtrack.
Every song is dramatic and has you oddly doing the Carlton without noticing at several moments. Each of the eleven tracks has its own strong personality. The opener, “Behind Your Shades,” is moody with sweeping synths, and the same can be said of the jaded “Remote,” with its sad commentaries on life as we know it. Meanwhile, “Morning Light” and “Made Up” are the perfect jams for a crazy party with their high energy and fun arrangements.
This is a spectacularly fun album. It pays tribute without smirking to a time that gave a lot of music we know and love today, despite its sometimes questionable fashion and cultural tastes. Chronotropic is definitely worth the investment—it promises to reside in the CD player, on the playlist, or on the turntable, ready for listening at a moment’s notice for a long time. Plus, we all need good party music now that it’s too cold to go outside, right?