Skip to main content

Synth Single Review: "Tropical // Lush" by Cleanrisk

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
"Cleanrisk is an experimental pop project which fused the synthesizer-driven pop of the American coast with folk songwriting styles inspired by the rural landscapes of the Midwest." (Bandcamp)

"Cleanrisk is an experimental pop project which fused the synthesizer-driven pop of the American coast with folk songwriting styles inspired by the rural landscapes of the Midwest." (Bandcamp)

Cleanrisk – Tropical // Lush

Cleanrisk’s Tropical // Lush is full of dynamic synth energy, Thorisson’s passionate sax playing and strong vocals carrying entertainingly written songs that engage the listener.

"I Like It”

"I Like It” starts off as metallic chimes ring out and hollow percussion forms a reverberating heartbeat. A trumpeting, bright synth cries out and the powerful drums pulsate. Gleaming synth notes cascade in an uplifting melody that fills the sonic space as Cleanrisk’s vocals come in, carrying more dynamic energy and funky bass combines with the massive drums.

Flashing, raised synth light surges with positive energy as the nasal lead synth imbues the song with hopeful life. The chorus bursts with affection and glittering light pours out as Thorisson's sax solo leaps in, full of reedy life and passion. After a gigantic drum fill, the lively chorus bursts out backed by flowing synth notes and deep bass with the sax reeling out in a nasal, warming line above it all.

Molly Ringwald Shacked Up with Huey Lewis & the News

Humor pours out of the lyrics as our narrator admits to being slightly confused when he first met the song’s subject because she dresses like "Molly Ringwald, shacked up with Huey Lewis & the News.” He goes on to say that she’s a big Tom Petty fan so she says he’d better like him too. Affectionate humor shows up as the narrator adds that “she got a tattoo of a horse that looks like something a toddler drew.” In the chorus, our storyteller says that she’s “freaky” but he likes it and he admits that it scares him that he “digs” her and is still attracted to her.

Her eccentric behaviour continues as the storyteller is talking about an old love of his while she “screamed that we’re Eskimo brothers” because that’s just the sort of stuff she does. He goes on to tell the tale of her dressing up as Dolly Parton for Halloween “complete with deflated balloons.” He adds that when he said that he’d never understand her, she told him she’d always love him. Before the song ends, he adds a few more of her eccentricities to round it all out.

“On The Run”

A solid, massive drum fill opens the track, huge snare hitting hard as glittering synth notes flash in a dynamic line to commence “On The Run.” Cleanrisk’s vocals are energizing and open-sounding as the flying melody leaps up and out over the hollow, broad drums and expanding bass notes. Cleanrisk’s voice bursts with life above the giant drums and bass that washes in undulating notes.

The main vocal melody has a hint of loss in it as the hollow-voiced, medium-low synth spins out a needy, yearning melody. Now Cleanrisk’s voice becomes clearer, almost chanting the vocals over sparkling piano notes and huge, solid drums. Sirens ring out and the percussion bursts as the chorus soars, dreaming and heartening. Gritty notes grow underneath and the hollow synths flicker out along with the distant sounding chorus.

Overemphatic, Then Ecstatic

The storyteller talks about how when listening to music, the song’s subject gets “dramatic when the shuffle ain’t hitting her right.” He adds that she’s first “overemphatic, then ecstatic” after drums come thundering in and the fretless bass is “slapping back.”

She’s glancing back over her shoulder once more. Our storyteller encourages the song’s subject to say what she wants and “forget the plan” pointing out that she has his heart so now she can take his hand.

In the chorus, the narrator says that if falling in love isn’t enough, the song’s subject should say that. He adds that he thought “living on the run” would be more fun for them but "it's not enough to last, no.” In the second verse, our narrator says that the club they’re in is suspicious and adds “we're bound to see a vampire tonight.” He wonders “what voice within us” thought stopping in Reno was a good idea.

Knows Their Names, Dances the Same

Our storyteller wonders how it that “she knows their names, dances the same” and figures something’s not right, so now he’s looking over his shoulder. After repeating his comment about forgetting the plan, he says that time has run out and they should “hit the road” because he thinks they’re being followed.

Our narrator goes on to say that he needs the other person close adding “I know I don't show it, but there's fear deep in my bones.” He points out that they could “keep floating 'neath this canopy of oceans” or go home. As the song ends, he concludes that “we can't outrun and won't escape this hell on wheels it's much too late.”

© 2022 Karl Magi