Thursday, November 1, 2012

Alpha Boy's Streets Are Hot

Barely two months since his last album, Heroes On Tape, Alpha Boy has released another full length album The Streets Are Hot. Heroes On Tape drew direct inspiration from classic 80s movies and this new release channels more diverse range of influences, but all nicely coloured by all things 80s.

This ten track record keeps it's moods simple and it's delivery clean while keeping the now signature Alpha Boy melodies right at the forefront of the experience in each track. Alpha Boy's sounds have usually been leaning towards the italo and soundtrack sides of 80s synth, but there's pronounced OutRun sound to a few of the tracks that adds greatly to the diversity.

The introduction ushers in the warm Alpha Boy sounds that are instantly recognisable but begin to step up to a feverish build that leads into the title track. This is definitely one of the highlights of the album, right from the start The Streets Are Hot brings a sumptuous pallette of sounds to the tables. Glittering starfalls and crisp percussion compliment the synth horns beautifully. The spatial nature of this tracks is wonderful, sounds feel muted but still punchy and it's simplicity belies much of it's wonder.

The sunset drive continues into a Night Rush of more constrained yet high energy OutRun Italo. The production again works well through this track as sounds build and fade. The dots of light on the horizon blink and move past us in a blur as the beats and melodies echo through a moonlit highway. As the lights fade into Top Gun the more traditional Alpha Boy arrangements kick back in. This piece is channelling some of the classic Faltermyer moods from the Top Gun soundtrack, but it doesn't really move into the danger zone as much as caress the listener through banks of clouds, soaring like a bird at peace more so than a tool war. The melody echoes throughout the sky as the sun hits the water for a Cool interlude.

Taking a cue from more mechanical electro, New Life begins with heavy beats and climbing bassline that enlists more airily atmospheric melodies before falling into dramatic break downs. New Life finds Alpha Boy incorporating an excellent vocal track that enhances the mood greatly. As the drama subsides the next chapter takes on a much more uplifting mood in Neon. Melodies echo and bounce through and the atmosphere, taking flight when the beat picks up to glow beautifully.

Riding into a more subdued and pastoral climes is Charlotte Blackwood. Alpha Boys experiments with synth horns really evolve in a magical way through this piece. The depth provided by this sound alone is wonderful. More wonderful homages to Top Gun smoothly move through the night skies in a vapour trail actoss the heavens.  Coast Highway 101 moves back into Alpha Boys signature sounds without causing to much fuss, a simple affair but not without it's charms. Building like the crest of a wave but spilling more than crushing as the music reverberates across ocean.

The final act of Alpha Boy's latest release is Sunset In Silicon Valley. Forgetting it's title, this once again feels like an homage, or an experience inspired by Top Gun's soundtrack. It's a moody and dramatic piece, but it caresses the listener delicately, this is definitely the most intimate sounding piece on the record, and although only short in length it's fathoms in depth. The lingering sounds finish of the album very nicely indeed.

When looking at The Streets Are Hot I can't help but think it may have worked better as two EPs, rather than one album. The amount of Top Gun influenced work would have benefitted more by being grouped into it's own experience, I believe. The music itself though is coloured with much Alpha Boy magic and does create a sense of wonder in much of the tracks.

The Streets Are Hot is available on Alpha Boy's Bandcamp here and is a recommended release as the Top Gun inspired tracks alone make for much enjoyment, but the title track and others on the album are stellar also. Rock it in your jetfighter or sports convertible as soon as possible!

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