On Friday, Lazerdiscs Records announced Introspection, the debut album from French synth act Billy Mays Band. Over the album’s eight tracks, producer Kevin — nope, he’s not actually named Billy Mays — concocts an entertaining blend of synthwave and retro guitar rock. In an increasingly crowded synth landscape, it winds up being quite a memorable listen.
Ahead of the album’s release on August 30, Nine Circles is pleased to share a premiere of Introspection‘s second track, “Videostore.” Hit the jump to give it a listen!
“Videostore” is the most ostensibly “synthwavey” song on Introspection, with a steady, pulsating outrun beat and melodic support from both synthesizer and electric guitar. As the song unfolds, the emphasis on guitar increases, with Kevin making great use of the instrument for subtle harmony lines, as well as an energetic solo that closes the tune out. All told, it’s a terrific mix of urgency and fun, and a terrific way to introduce and ease listeners into the album.
Beyond “Videostore,” there’s an interesting sonic diversity at play throughout Introspection. Few slot neatly into the typical “synthwave” genre constraints — which, again, is to the album’s advantage — but they all carry an unmistakably “retro” air.
The riffy opener “Mindscape Crash Landing,” for example, plays like a Billy Squier song from a parallel universe. It lets Kevin’s guitars take center stage, with synth lines intermittently sprinkled in for additional color. Later, “Take My Hand” is a slithering, darkly subtle tune that wouldn’t feel out of place in a horror movie soundtrack. (The nods to John Carpenter are real, and they are delightful.) Others, still, nod more to Billy Mays Band’s recent collaboration with Absolute Valentine on the darksynth-laced single, “DNA War.”
All of this is to say, there’s a lot going on here. And Introspection isn’t a conventional synthwave album by any stretch, but you know what? Sod convention. It pulls selectively from a bunch of different, catchy “retro” elements, and it gives us its take on each of them pretty tastefully. It’s an entertaining, memorable listen — and that’s a pretty powerful trump card to have in your hand these days.
Introspection will be available August 30 via Lazerdiscs Records. Physical and digital preorders are available now via Bandcamp. For more information on Billy Mays Band, visit the artist’s Facebook or Twitter pages.