Nostalgia is always bittersweet
Propelled from obscurity to being featured on 2011’s Drive soundtrack, Electric Youth have found their strength in combing ’80s nostalgia with the reverb-drenched echoes of millennial pop. Both duo and couple, Austin Garrick and Bronwyn Griffin’s music has unmistakable chemistry and a definitive tone. In today’s pop soundscape, bringing a sense of modernity to classic and overused ’80s sonic motifs is a banal trend, yet Electric Youth manages to avoid most clichés on their newest project Memory Emotion. The duo’s sound is centered on the simplistic and mostly effective melding of nocturnal synth pads, bass, leads and punchy repetitive sequenced drums. Griffin’s vocal aesthetic and lyrics are often catchy and easy on the ears, while Garrick’s straightforward productions set a fitting backdrop.
Griffin’s ethereal vocals take center stage in “The Life,” as a phasing wall of thick synths and thumping drums harkens back to their efforts on Drive. “ARAWA” is especially familiar, production is groovy and relaxing, floaty synths take shape around Griffin’s reverb-soaked enveloping vocals. “On My Own” has a funky hip hop influenced drum sequence and Griffin’s lyrics about loneliness play well with the dark and bittersweet production. “Higher” changes thing up with a four to the floor house music aesthetic, but the production is a little messy and while there was an obvious attempt at experimenting with effects and layering, overall the track doesn’t stick the landing. “Now Now” is a highlight, the production is melodic and carries pulsing energy and structural complexity. Nothing falls in the way of the vocals, which fit right into a psychedelic dream pop vein.
Electric Youth solidifies their sound, developing a style that goes beyond their influences and while their music falls short here and there, Memory Emotion hits a pocket of engaging summery nostalgia. The above-average writing and production overshadows some messy compositions and lack of experimentation and hopefully, they can further push their sound forward into new sonic territories.