S U R V I V E are an Austin-based synth quartet, who you’ve probably heard of thanks to the Stranger Things soundtrack, but how does their new album RR7349 compare?
Here are some facts you probably already know about S U R V I V E:
- – Their name is really annoying to type
- – They really love the 80s
- – They really love synthesisers
- – Two members of S U R V I V E, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, wrote the score for Stranger Things
- – It’s impossible to talk about them without mentioning John Carpenter
- – Seriously that fucking name
Here are some facts you probably didn’t already know about S U R V I V E:
- – There are two other members of S U R V I V E. They’re called
Adam Jones and Mark Donica and they probably don’t want to hear another word about Stranger Things thank you very much. In fact for the remainder of this review I’m going to refer to the band as Adam, Mark and the two other dudes whose names I can’t be bothered to learn
- – RR7349 is their 2nd album
- – Fuck, I could have been copying and pasting their name this whole time!
It’s fortuitous timing that Adam, Mark and the two other dudes whose names I can’t be bothered to learn already had a new album due out, just when the Stranger Things hype was ramping up to ‘Joyce Byers’ levels of franticness.
S U R V I V E (thank you command-V) have been able to ride the crest of the 80s nostalgia wave (like that shit bit in Escape from LA with Kurt Russell on a surfboard) fuelled by our appetites to hear even more music that sounds just like the Stranger Things soundtrack. Me included. For the last few weeks I’ve been listening to The Guest soundtrack on repeat as it contains S U R V I V E’s second best ever track, ‘Hourglass’.
But hey, that’s not why you’re here. As much as it will probably eventually annoy the band like ‘High and Dry’ annoys Radiohead, you’re here because of Stranger Things. And hey, let’s not pretend like the Stranger Things theme tune isn’t the best thing we’ve heard all year.
So how does RR7349 stack up?
Where S U R V I V E’s soundtrack work mixes warmth and layers of richness to the synthetic sterility of the 80s, on RR7349 there’s a harder-edged sound. The threat of some emotionless terror hangs over every track – much like Carpenter’s scores to They Live or Assault on Precinct 13.
It’s difficult not to compare much of RR7349 to Boards of Canada’s grimly nihilistic Tomorrow’s Harvest, as it exists in the same chilling, post-apocalyptic realm. Although in this alternate universe, the apocalypse already happened in 1984 and the mutant cannibals all have massive hair, shoulder pads and ride around in Pontiac Firebirds. Thankfully the album never feels too miserable. Many of the tracks propel you out of harm’s way through the sheer force of their exhilaratingly dramatic synths.
It may be a little too gloomy for those looking for further adventures alongside a quartet of plucky, lovable kids. By the end of RR7349 you’ll be left breathless and terrified, but you will live to fight another day. Which is exactly where you want to be at the end of a good 80s horror. 4/5