Red Fetish :: Cardinal Synth (TViD)

Corruption, exploitation, technology and social strife all to a Synth Wave beat. A punchy return from these trailblazers.

A couple of years back I had the pleasure of reviewing Red Fetish‘s The Future Is Now In Your Hands, a 7” from a UK synth act who were active in the early eighties. Now the duo of Michael Richardson and Neale Potts are back in the studio and making new music. To give their new musings a platform Red Fetish have founded their own imprint, TVid. Welcome to Cardinal Synth.

Synth bands of the 80s were characterized by a handful of predilections. Angular hairdos. Catchy hooks. A penchant for social commentary. Not sure about the haircuts, but Red Fetish are hammering the other two nails. The Northern group cast critical eyes on contemporary society and unsurprisingly the same themes are explored today; the machine age and man’s place in the world. Nostalgia is linked with experimentation. “The Mirror Of Delusion” is a reduced piece of synth music—vocals dominate machine moods and plinks. Beats are fast paced, slicing and digging through “The Colour Of My Mind” but slowing for the guttural vehemence of “Virtual Dystopia.” A good natured cheeriness pervades the synthlines of “Little Beat Girl” before the politically stoked “The Future Makes No Sense” pours analogue scorn on recent goings on. That same discontent is carried into “Culture Of Deceit.” “A Thousand Suns” returns to one of Red Fetish’s central themes, retro futuristic fantasia. The nuclear age takes centre stage but dead pan lyrics remove the emotion attached to atomic fears. The brusquely titled “What About the Dead Ones” closes the LP. A stark and stripped final mantra.

It’s curious to see 80s groups returning to the studio. Many of the issues that defined that decade are still being felt some thirty years later. An immediate album comparison is The Phone’s Songs for the Nuclear Age. It’s not the sound but rather the content where parallels are visible. Corruption, exploitation, technology and social strife all to a Synth Wave beat. A punchy return from these trailblazers.

Red Fetish is available on TViD. [Buy at Dark Entries]

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