Monday 12 March 2018

Review: The Rain Within – 'Atomic Eyes'

'Atomic Eyes'

Andy Deane's synthpop-meets-synthwave side-project to Bella Morte had a pretty strong start with their first full-length outing 'Dark Drive' which followed on from two well-received EPs. The direction of the band has definitely been moving in the right direction since the release of the first EP back in 2014, and it is evident that Deane has carefully developed the sound at every stage.

The band's second full-length outing sees a continuation of the mission to meld synthpop and synthwave into a cohesive whole. The end result is a more focused display of the concept that still enjoys the variety displayed on the first album. The sound swings between dark and light, with nods to the likes of John Carpenter and Vangelis as well as Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. There's an undeniable nostalgic quality to it but it is at heart a modern reinterpretation of what made all kinds of 80s synth music so compelling.

Tracks such as 'Like The Devil', 'Realign', 'Fears, Lies, and Love', 'Home', 'While I Am Here', 'Midnight', and 'Violet Glow' provide a strong backbone of melodic yet melancholy tracks that have a definite dance appeal but also a quiet introspective quality. Retro synth leads, combine with steady dance pacing and Deane's emotive and strong vocals for an utterly compelling combination that should please both fans of synthpop as well as those familiar with the earlier Bella Morte works.

In terms of production the album has an impeccable modern quality that brings out the best in the tracks. It's always tempting to try and replicate the 80s analogue sound to emulate the great albums of the era, but 'Atomic Eyes' is under no illusions that it is a modern album and is as crisp and dynamic as it should be.

'Atomic Eyes' is certainly a more refined and focused album despite featuring a few more tracks than its predecessor. And that is a sure sign Deane has focused on the quality of the songwriting and the final execution. It sticks to it's stylistic guns and revels in the variety of the era that has inspired it. The end result is a very strong outing.

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