Siblings of Us
Who Are We Anymore
30th October 2017 – Self-released
02. Saints on Break
03. Neon Lungs
04. We the British American
Hitting a chord with 80s fans everywhere, synthwave is cresting a huge, um, wave, to the point of having a prominent presence in the new Marvel film, Thor: Ragnarok. This is in addition to the new Stranger Things series and the resurgence of Blade Runner; synths are at an all-time premium.
Enter Siblings Of Us. Who Are We Anymore is four tracks of fun, twinkly synth; not oppressively 80s, but definitely rooted in that style. Perhaps closer to synth-pop than some of their peers, the music is fluid and effervescent, light synth layers floating effortlessly. There are some more sinister samples, but they’re offset by the falsetto vocals and rich synth swells. The tracks cycle through more sections than might be expected; synthwave can tend to ruminate on an idea for a while, but here the tracks are much busier. The programmed drums lend the record a dance-y feel and help break out of the 80s shell a bit, which is good; I didn’t get a sense that Siblings Of Us were an 80s pastiche or self-parody which can get a little grating.
With the heavy pop presence it feels like this is less for a metal crowd than Gost or Perturbator or even something a little less intense like Lazerhawk. Throughout the EP I found myself wanting Siblings to drift towards their heavier aspects; synthwave has a weird crossover with metal by way of dark ambient and the darker elements on here such as the heavy pulse and glitchy effects of “Neon Lungs” and the angst of “We the British American” definitely work in their favour. When the EP flashes its fangs it definitely has more of a presence; I’d love to see this as a focus in future, and I think their sound would benefit from it.
There’s definitely scope for them to expand to a full-length record; I’d be interested to see where they go from here. Crucially the band are inventive and varied enough to easily fill out a longer-form release; there’s certainly a wealth of ideas on display, and though the EP is catchy and compelling you can’t help but feel that they’d be more at home with more space to express themselves.
It’s hard to get a sense of a band’s complete modus operandi from a short release, or even a series of shorter releases, but this is their most cohesive yet. If you’re stuck on synthwave that feels a bit aimless, this is an excellent alternative.