Synth EP Review: Erebus, "Collision"
As my readers will know by now, I am all for pushing the envelope when it comes to synthwave and its related genres. Sometimes, however, it’s nice to review a recording that does a good job of making more ‘traditional’ sounds from the synth realms. Erebus' latest EP, Collision, takes those elements that we know and love and combines them very well to create an enjoyable listening experience.
I found that the first thing that I liked about Collision was the variety of musical styles on it. There’s everything from Outrun sounds to poppier elements here and they’re all handled very well. Despite the disparate nature of the tracks, they were held together by their production quality and the overall sense of energy that they contained.
Another thing that I liked on this EP was that Erebus wasn’t afraid of having dynamic changes in the music. It’s rare these days that music actually goes from soft to loud and varies in volume, but it does make for a much more aurally interesting musical experience than one constant volume level.
Hearing the vocal track on Collision was a nice treat. I guess its just a personal preference, but I do enjoy my synthpop and vocal synthwave. It adds a nice touch to have lyrics and singing, especially because this was an unabashed, positive love song. Sometimes I just want to hear something that warms my heart.
Although I don’t often break down EP’s track by track, I will do so here and discuss what I enjoyed about each song.
“Highway Drive” is a great slice of classic Outrun with a high, bright synth intro that’s full of openness. It has a triumphal feeling to it as the driving, energetic drums send us off down that endless black ribbon of asphalt. The synth sings an upbeat melody over the beat, conjuring vistas that are revealed as the road flows through them. As I mentioned, the dynamic changes on this track added to it significantly in my view. This would be a fun road trip track.
The effective use of interlocking arpeggios along with steady drums and pulsing bass to underpin those flying patterns of notes characterizes “Upside Down.” This is a track with a propulsive quality that’s less driving than the previous track, but no less fun to listen to. I also rather liked the child’s voice in this track which added an element of whimsy to it.
“Contact.exe” has another catchy rhythm as it starts off. The synth melody that comes in has a robotic, minor feeling to it and a rather hypnotic quality with drums that keep it all moving forward. The melody turns and becomes warmer and more major-sounding. This is a track with a certain strut to it. The use of samples in the track doesn’t take away from it. Some of the synths in it have a stringed-instrument quality that I enjoyed as well.
The energetic, positive nature of the lyrics is what defines “Against the Flow” for me. It starts out with warm, expanding synth sounds that fill spacious surroundings. Sometimes all that I really want is an upbeat synthpop song about uncomplicated things. I think that on that count, this track delivers well. It may not be the deepest song, but it makes me happy.
Collision is an EP that showcases Erebus Project’s fun, energetic approach to creating synth-based music. It isn’t boundary pushing, but I don’t think that’s really the intent of the EP. Rather Erebus Project has taken all of the best elements of retro, synth-based music and combined them with skill to produce an enjoyable listening experience. I’ll be listening out for a full-length album, hopefully in the near future.