Alex Cuervo, a.k.a. Espectrostatic, is part of a growing group of artists looking into the darker tones of their ’80s brethren. Armed with vintage synth equipment, a taste for VHS horror movies and neon colors, these musicians are going by retrowave, an anti-laptop answer to chillwave. Whether Cuervo actually produces his music with software or not isn’t really the question; his self-titled LP is filled with thick, lush and beefy synths to make anyone think they were inside of a Sam Raimi Flick. That’s definitely a good thing.
The album starts off with “Smokeface Appears,” a pulsing thriller filled with haunting bass lines, glassy textures and a spoony buildup. Imagine pulling up to your girlfriend’s house in your new red IROC. As you’re inching towards her front door, a million rotten hands thrust out of the front yard, grasping for your Nikes to join them in the depths of ’80s hell.
Following “Smokeface Appears” is the appropriately titled, “Doomed Lovers in a Gathering Storm.” You’re now rushing feet-first into a pile of rocks and loose gravel. The stench of decaying flesh, sulfur and hairspray fills your nose. You know this is the your end, but this song also allows for some hope. Your Phoebe Cates-lookin’ girlfriend dives in after you. The rest of the album is her journey to the center of the Earth. May the synths guide her to glory.
“The Wrong Side of the Portal,” features intense synth work, mostly coming from a Dave Smith Instruments Prophet synth or the recent beauties put out by Arturia. Much of the sounds from this track and the following one, “The Procession,” could easily be featured on a Kavinsky single.
The album closes with “Please Be Careful As You Exit,” a bass and drum-heavy banger that starts as the end credits pop up. You know, that part in the movie right after the director dropped a huge “?” as the monster’s decapitated head starts to blink or hand starts twitching. Cuervo’s music isn’t necessarily best suited for cinema, but it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to predict it being featured on the next Eli Roth flick. Espectrostatic is electronic music you can sink your teeth into– fangs included.