[one_half last=”no”]
Electric Youth - 'Innerworld' Cover

[one_half last=”yes”]ELECTRIC YOUTH

Release-Date: 29.09.2014
Label: Secretly Canadian

01. Before Life
02. Runaway
03. WeAreTheYouth
04. Innocence
05. Without You
06. If All She Has Is You
07. The Best Thing
08. Tomorrow
09. Another Story
10. She’s Sleeping Interlude
11. A Real Hero
12. Outro

NBHAP Rating: 5/5


A subliminal rumble – boom. A reduced lettering: ‘Los Angeles, 2019’ – Boom! A dark synthesizer sound unfolds its morbid magic as we slowly fly through the dystopian street canyons of an unfriendly moloch. The synthesizer sequencer vibrates like a constant reminder of impending doom before the analogue keyboard patterns give the viewer a feeling of width. Yes, the opening sequence of 1982 sci-fi cult movie Blade Runner was a special one, just like the entire movie that followed it. Greek composer VANGELIS created a haunting futuristic score that combined the character of a classic orchestral soundtrack with the technology and aesthetics of the uprising 80s. Everything felt quite new and unknown as synthesizer sounds were still seen as a novelty and had to fight their way into the mainstream.

Flash Forward. 2011. A nameless stunt driver and his beloved (plus her son) are driving through a drained canal while the summer sun is shining through the filthy windows of his car. They are about to celebrate a peaceful day in the nature; a contrast to the harsh environment of the big city that is filled with violence, murder and other disgust that surrounds these people. ‘And you have proved to be a real human being and a real hero’ sings a gentle voice over a reduced synthesizer melody. The nameless driver has proved to be far more than a weapon of revenge. He’s a protector, at least for a minute. Though this scene from the acclaimed movie Drive is not that comparable to Blade Runner it shows certain similarities and remained as memorable as the flight over the rotten Los Angeles in Ridley Scott’s classic movie. The song was A Real Hero by ELECTRIC YOUTH and thirty years later the synthesizer sounds don’t feel like a promise of the future anymore but like a warm nostalgic reminder of the past. The duo’s debut Innerworld marks the logic consequence of that feeling.

Instrumentalist Austin Garrick and singer Bronwyn Griffin clearly needed some time to deal with the sudden hype around their soundtrack contribution. The Canadian two-piece took an appropriate amount of time to shape Innerworld in the best possible way. The result is unsurprisingly not that far away from A Real Hero. It’s a synthesizer-drenched trip into a nostalgic fantasy world that deals with simple pleasures and wishes. ELECTRIC YOUTH and their sequencers shape the score to another movie, one that nobody shot yet, and one that is filled with the memories of the listeners. It’s no surprise that the duo’s recording studio also included a film projection room that was used as an inspiration; from Mad Max to Spirited Away or Fritz Lang’s legendary Metropolis. But even without this knowledge the sound of Innerworld instantly creates visuals in your head, especially if you love electronic sounds from the 1980s.

Electric Youth - Photo by Chris Muir

Photo by Chris Muir

The formula of ELECTRIC YOUTH is as simple as it is effective. Garricks joyful pop melodies are constantly built on the basis of similar sounds. Pumping sequencer bass lines work as a foundation for the beautifully soft synthesizer chimes and pads on top of it. A certain anthem-like approach is undeniable. Griffins vocal fit just too perfectly to this concept. Her voice is sweet, soulful and also sensual in some moments; seducing the listener with her sometimes almost whispering performance. ‘Maybe we can just run away for good ’cause were both misunderstood’ she sings in the opening Runaway. Who wouldn’t fall for that temptation? Her lyrics might not be the most complex ones but they tempt the listener with an undeniable feeling of melancholia that is also felt within her voice. ‘We are the youth, we won’t age’ sings Griffin in the grooving WeAreTheYouth while seeming quite aware of the irony. The awareness gets even clearer in the following Innocence: ‘And now the rain is falling / The truth is bittersweet. A different voice is calling / Where have you gone sweet innocence?’ The transience of everything good and beautiful becomes pervasive, giving a lot of songs on Innerworld a surprisingly sad character.

The sound, themes and aesthetics of ELECTRIC YOUTH celebrate a long gone era. The duo sets simple but emotional messages into a catchy 80s electropop environment. The intransigence of that concept marks the biggest strength of Innerworld. The whole record feels like a flow of sound, like a story in which – of course – A Real Hero – marks the final chapter of that imaginary movie. ‘Back against the wall and odds / with the strength of a will and a cause’ sings Griffin just as beautiful as she did three years ago. Fantasy and imagination are indestructible even if the real world is trying to beat it down. Innerworld might not apply to each and everyone out there. But those who understand the idea behind it will experience one of the best pop records of the past years.

ELECTRIC YOUTH’s debut LP ‘Innerworld’ unfolds a magical world of retro-inspired synthesizers sounds, packed with nostalgic images, euphoric melodies and quite melancholic moments – a true masterpiece.