The continuous existence of the synthwave genre fills me with joy. Every release, tinted in loud neon colours, shines as bright as the memories one holds for a decade that seems to have an infinite luster. The heavy synth sounds and pop sensibilities lent themselves to catchy tunes and Mojave, the latest by Android Automatic, maxes out, pumped and ready to go.
Mojave never wastes a moment, it never slows down. No retreat, no surrender. Place yourself in any eighties training montage and you’ll understand the tempo Android Automatic goes for in ‘Dark Roads’ and ‘Running late’. Opening with two tracks as strong as this one could be counterproductive, but ‘Mojave’, a reflective ditty with a steady arpeggio, avoids this. The aromas from the track are “ocean spray” and “balsa wood”, with fresh hints of mint leaving a relaxing aftertaste. Great taste, less filling.
A recurring image from the eighties is lights piercing through Venetian blinds. ‘Sex in a dream’ intertwines with this image just right. Dark shadows gyrate as the red sodium vapor lights outside dare not to intervene to what happens inside a Miami condo.
‘Searching for you’ and ‘Boardwalk ’82’ return to a peppier beat. The intensity returns, jazzercising during another montage. The gorgeous production shines in these two tracks, who soar through nostalgic skies instead of diving into valleys of oblivion. ‘Lost in the desert sky’ yearns through its 3:30 minute runtime, the best one for a pop song. Part closing titles, part realisation, it signals the end of a trip through memories long gone that become brighter with every year.
Mojave knows that the synthwave genre is still going strong. Think of the eighties style as something we have re-visiting since 2006 (or so), with varying results. Still, there’s a particular set of musicians that distill the aesthetics and create a beast that manages to live and breathe in two different eras. Android Automatic belongs to this set.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López