The trio of Kim Sølve [Blitzkrieg Baby, K100], Anders B [Babyflesh, Mind & Flesh] and Lars Fredrik Frøislie [Wobbler, White Willow] last made an appearance with the brief but brilliantly executed taster 'The Atrocities EP' which featured three tracks which now make up part of their full-length début, 'Chroma'.
The trio blend catchy synthpop and dark coldwave into a dystopian sci-fi soundtrack style that draws as much influence from John Carpenter and Giorgio Moroder as it does from modern acts such as The Soft Moon and Zombi. It's bleak, Minimal, downbeat and cold in it's atmospheres, but ultimately it gets under your skin with it's simple but infectious melodies and hooks.
Songs such as 'Atrocities', 'At the Centre Of Dystopia', 'Animism', 'Aeon Surveillance [mkII]' and 'Lieke' feel like grainy retro sci-fi relics from the early 80s with their analogue sounding synths and minimal Kraftwerk-esque construction. But ultimately they are augmented with a strong sense of pop melodies and dance beats. While the likes of 'Daybreak Monuments', 'Hazard' and 'Channel 0' engage in more atmospheric ambience with their slower pace and more evocative cinematic slant.
As you'd expect the production emphasises that old school, 80s sound. But it isn't hiding behind the retro tag to cover-up poor quality. This is a very well mixed and produced album with each track sounding crisp and modern despite the heavy use of classic synth sounds.
'Chroma' is an interesting, unusual and very rewarding listening experience. The band have created something that isn't quite a dance-friendly record, yet isn't a complex ambient soundscape. Instead the trio have taken strong elements from each and crafted them into something original yet familiar. It will be very interesting to see whether they choose to continue down this line on further releases or whether they have something else up their sleeves.