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Synthwave Album Review: "Lost Summer" by The Future Kids

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Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

The Future Kids

The Future Kids

Initial Impressions

The Future Kids’ Lost Summer is an album shining with light, suffused with a feeling of ease and made out of a tapestry of varied synth sounds, huge ‘80s style drums and a sense of progress and hope that cuts through the dark fog of our current world. The nostalgic vibe is strong, but doesn’t overwhelm the high production quality or the overall integrity of the music itself.

I have said it before, but it bears mentioning that few people seem think about dynamic changes in music these days. The Future Kids are not part of that trend. They are aware of the power of crescendos and diminuendos, of varying the sound to carry the listener on a journey and keep their ear engaged with the dynamism of the tracks and add character to the music.

Another important aspect of Lost Summer is the atmospheric nature of the album. The atmosphere expresses the themes of summer days, feeling carefree and thinking back on days gone by with sparkling synths, classic ‘80s drums and a general impression of glide and flow that ties all of the tracks together. Every element helps contribute to the picture painted in the mind’s eye.

There’s also a well thought out approach to the synths and they way that they’re used on Lost Summer. There’s a feeling of many layers of different synthesizers coming together to produce one rich, full sound. Each provides a unique and necessary element that adds to the sum total of the sonic palette of the album and again adds a strong element of engagement to the music.

Track-By-Track Analysis

“Sunset Love Part 1” begins with soft, ghostly, hollow synth pulses that move out into the track before the weighty depths of the bass descend beneath the ethereal pulses. Gently warming synths swell up, swirling around and growing in volume, as the steady high synth pulse runs through everything. There’s a nice balance as energy grows in the warm synths, but all of the sounds are still gliding and delicate, layering one on another, giving an indication of more motion to come as the synths fade slowly out.

As “Sunset Love Part 2” kicks off, an easily throbbing beat comes in under the muted synths. The muffled effect begins to subside as the beat’s pulse moves under the swelling synths. Those synths play a bright pattern of notes out over the beat.The intensity keeps building as those synths dance and circle and the beat and bass pulse together.

The lead synth fades out a little, melting into the background, as a longer series of extending synth pulses moves through. I enjoy the dynamic changes in the song as it crescendos and the sounds expand outward through the track. There are dense waves of interlocking synth moving over the beat that has grown lighter now. There’s flash and shine in this track along with a strong percussive heartbeat.

“Sunshine Valley” leaps to life with solid, hard hitting drums and a quick shining pulse of high synth. A swelling synth line that’s full of dynamism bursts into the track over the solid drums that give it so much forward motion. A pulse of lower synth sounds drives the track forward while high, shimmering synth plays a delicate melody over the throbbing, pulsing drums.

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My favourite part of the track is the way in which it’s absolutely suffused with light. There’s another dynamic change as the beat recedes and a high synth pulse moves through. A repeating glow of chiming synth floats in over the waves of bass that wash into the music and again we return to that dynamic and interlocked synth, bass and drum pulse that has a uplifting energy to it.

A steady pulsation of oscillating synth and throbbing bass open “Purple City Night” as gliding synths drift in a ghostly wave in the background under the steady pulse. Big, bold drums add their powerful beat while synths are still hazy in the distance. The lead synth begins to swell into the music, circling around, still a little quiet and lost as the drums and oscillation of synth continue to flow along.

I like the hesitant feeling that the subdued synths create. A high chiming sound flutters through and glows into the music delicately as the drums keep their easy pulsation moving along. The track glides like a car down smooth asphalt into the indigo darkness. The heartbeat of the music continues, shaping it and guiding it but it feels like velvet on the ears.

“Summer Memories” stars with softly glistening notes that sparkle over the medium-high synth glide underneath them as the music crescendoes and grows in strength. The throbbing drive of the beat joins all of the light and glow emanating from the higher synths over top of it. All of the elements of the track jump forward with the warm, embracing and hopeful melody that flickers from the bright synths.I am drawn to the sensation this track creates that’s like warm sun on ones’ upturned face.

The deep bass pulse moves and shifts underneath the other parts of the track. The drums propel the track forward as the surging melody adds irrepressible energy over the top of them, shining and shimmering like sun on water. The music bursts with easygoing motion and feelings of ease and comfort. There is a sense of carefree nostalgia in this track.

The sound of sirens and softly drifting synths kick off “Midnight Drive” as the sounds flow into open space. The low, oscillating synths move into the track, full and rich as they throb, while a smoothly flowing beat establishes itself. All of the warm, floating sounds interlock and move together before the caressing melody comes in over the deeper oscillation under it.

Brighter flashes of synth grow in intensity before the track breaks into a deep well of bass with the higher sounds sparkling out over it, so free and easy as they move into open space. There’s solid drum throb and the steady movement of the high synth that drifts over the track. I am enamoured of the imagery of flowing asphalt and neon lights sliding past.

“Lost Summer” comes to life with deep, steady drums that add strength to the track as the drum pulse drives on and sparkling synths weave together in a starry pattern. All of the musical elements move over the huge retro beat that propels the track as a medium-high arpeggio spins out through the music. Now the drums grow a little muted in their beat while the glowing synths double up.

The arpeggio keeps spinning out above the big drums and now a high, light-infused synth sings out a pattern of brilliant notes. I like how the repeating, circling nature of this track allows synths to build one onto the next. Eventually track fades out, smooth and easy, like memories of a summer past.

Conclusion

The Future Kids have managed to create an album that touches the heart and warms it with Lost Summer. There’s an easy, carefree feeling to the music that soothes and relaxes while light glows like a softly fading sun that turns everything into gentle golden twilight.

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