Outrunning the Past
Seth Haley, better known by his stage name Com Truise, has created a synthwave opus with his new LP, Iteration. Many albums that look to the past get bogged down in their nostalgia and deliver something half-baked, but that’s not the case with this new work from Com Truise. Even though he uses many classic sounds from the ’80s, his vision is definitely forward-facing. His willingness to try new things and surprise the listener is what elevates his work from mere imitation to something truly original.
At first it’s a little hard to pin down what exactly is so great about Com Truise; yet his songs are always consistent, no one being static or predictable. A great example of this is the title track, “Iteration,” in which Haley switches up the melody and beat about halfway into the song, but keeps all the momentum he had been building. Surprisingly, this song comes at the end of the tracklist, but the album draws listeners in well before this moment. Haley takes the influence of modern house and EDM and melds it with classic synthpop in such a great way on tracks like “Memory” and “Vacuume.” “Dryswch” has dark synths that initially sound out of place, but every piece comes together to make an instrumental that is actually uplifting. That’s another one of Haley’s skills that is illustrated perfectly on this project: his ability to take eerie synths that could be slightly abrasive and shape them into something bright and inspiring.
Although the album is a success, some choices are still a little strange. The song “Ephemeron” features a long fade that begins near the end of the track. It fits with the theme of the song being ephemeral, but its execution takes away from the track rather than adding to it. Another problem on the album is that it can feel somewhat repetitive when one listens to it in full. Haley is able to put enough variation into each track so that no single one is particularly tedious, but the general theme and tone of the album does not really change drastically at any point. However, even this is not a huge problem, as Haley sticks to a distinct and recognizable tone rather than being all over the place.
With three full-length albums under his belt, Com Truise has definitely made a name for himself, even if part of it is borrowed. Iteration can be relaxing at times and exhilarating at others. It’s great to listen to while driving or just relaxing at home (although it could be great at a festival too). For those who are fans of chill, synthwave or a combination of both, definitely check out Com Truise and give this album a listen.