Hollywood Burns – Invaders

Hollywood Burns' Invaders lands in a weird and in-between place within the discussion on the plight of retro/synth wave (I'm just going to use synthwave from now on, you know what I mean). It's an album that suffers from its structure, for some reason making the odd decision of placing its best tracks on its second half. On one hand, we can understand the decision; the first five tracks should be very familiar to anyone who's up to date with the scene. "Scherzo No. 5 in Death Minor" for example channels the by now familiar horror/occult vibes of artists like Carpenter Brut while its predecessor, "Black Saucers", rings of most artists being released on Blood Music today (on which label this record was also released). Which is not to say they're bad tracks. The former especially has some really good ideas and cool line synths. But they're pretty regular stock within the context of the scene around Hollywood Burns; they don't really leave their mark on the listener. This cannot be said for what happens further down the line however.

Carpenter Brut – Leather Teeth

Those who can adapt are the quintessential hero, rising above the challenges to stay supreme and powerful. In the menagerie of synth and retrowave we have access to these days, who better to embody the figure of the 80's hero, shirt torn and muddied, face filled with cuts but eyes still burning with passion, with dedication for the fight, than Carpenter Brut? He is the demon of the night, wielding dirty synth tones and killer beats in a constant effort to keep the listeners of the genre fixed on his sounds, a constant effort to defeat the staleness that creeps at the edges of the genre. And so he did with 2015's Trilogy, a fresh and excellent take on the milieu of synth, retro and even dark wave. But can he keep adapting? As the villain of mediocrity and repetition rears itself constantly above the Neo-Tokyo that is the electronic genres today, will Carpenter Brut rise to the challenge and attack with a new approach or stick to his guns and begin fading away?