Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hemendex Offer Solutions To Reality

Eastern Europe seems to always be one of the hottest locations on the planet for 80s inspired synth music that aims for the authenticity of vintage sounds as a priority. Modern elements are often included as a complimentary bonus, more than the backbone of the music and in Hemendex's new record we're given a totally rockin mix of quality early 80s synth pop that has then been frosted with just enough modern details to give it a time and space. These rockers from Zagreb, Croatia have just released a new album, Solution To Reality, and it is something that I've found absolutely captivating.

The Hemendex soundscape is a mix of Cold War European electro synth, akin to Monuments' and Linear Movement's work, but give a glossy pink splash of Duran Duran's bassline driven synthpop. The combination of sounds works amazingly well with Hemendex being a three piece band allowing for a very live and electric feel to their music. It's not often I get to say on Synthetix.FM how I'd love to see modern producers of 80s inspired synth music perform live, but a Hemendex live show would be something I'd be in raptures over.

Theres a harder/80s indie edge to Hemendex's sound that is highly energetic. The vocals are delivered with cutting sarcasm and biting commentary and very little about Hemendex's sound falls into the traditional synth categories I usually cover on Synthetix.FM but there is no denying this music is fashioned from vibrant 80s colours, painted with strong strokes, from a hugely palette in a refreshing and bold manner.

In each song I hear new and old sounds combining in a way that honours them and re-envisages them. The opening song, 'Faith In War', I've previously covered in a Weekend Update on here, but it must reiterated how well Hemendex capture the New Order ambiance with the bass and guitars while adding their own flavours on top. The social commentary in the lyrics is also done in a very 80s-indie manner with glorious metaphors and a delightful air of cynicism the post-punk bands of the early 80s would be proud of.

With 'Pick Me Up' we get to experience a spectacular revision of Duran Duran's sounds taken out the back of Europe and toughened up into a streetwise anthem. The groove is solid and deep and the synths  dance with electronic precision while the vocals add the extra bite to the synthscape. 'Initial Ideas' takes the direction into purely synth driven pop drama with the vocals taking on indignant bitterness that does a beautiful job of conveying frustrations while keeping things super catchy as the final chapters become sublimely anthemic.

The album keeps the pace up and rockin hard with third chapter 'Song In A Minor' with pulsating synth melodies offering a frenetic companion to even more totally kick arse lyrics providing an eloquent dissertation on night club rendezvous betwixt DJ's and patrons. A bitterness flavours the entire episode and some carefully considered elements of self loathing creep in too. Very nicely done.

The short interlude of 'TV Zagreb' leads into the title track, and it's only really here that I find the album falters a little and the songwriting seems to switch to a more indie-90s flavour. It feels a bit lacking in passion, but that is then contrasted by the return to form in the next track 'Fall Together'. This is  the perfect nihilistic three and a half minute synth pop song with loads 80s love and another catchy chorus delivered while song evolves and builds with an action packed structure.

'Safe From Ghosts' comes up next, adding another little oddity to the album. I can hear elements of The Cure's more synth oriented music here, but at just over ninety seconds the experience is over before it begins. More indirect channeling of New Order can be felt in the second last song, 'Just Because' as Peter Hook style lines drive the chorus. The overall tone of the track is leaning towards modern sounds and styles, but Hemendex walk a line between both worlds spectacularly well, especially with a delightful homage to Duran Duran's Save A Prayer wending it's way through the background of the experience.

The final track on the album is one of the strongest as the chorus refrain is drilled in early as synths and bass join voice in unison for a quirky track that is full of 80s love. The simplistic nature of the song is what gives it so much charm and this uncomplicated story is allowed to hit with maximum impact. This could quite happily be a Missing Persons lost single from 1983, which is most righteous.

Hemendex's latest album is full of rockin ideas packaged and performed in a way that I find really captures the spirit of early 80s synth pop. The lyrics and melodies are crafted with great skill and although the modern touches can become a little to prominent on some tracks, for my tastes, the overall experience is absolutely engaging in an uncommon manner. There are few of the well worn 80s trappings in this album, nothing feels like it's trying to 'do' 80s sounds in a one dimensional way, instead Hemendex continue the magic and lineage from the early 80s synth pop movements with an unabashed honesty and their own individual vision.

Hemendex present the Solution To Reality album on their Bandcamp page, here at a name-your-own-price point. Synthetix.FM highly recommends this album to those of you wanting a more biting edge to your 80s inspired synthpop, with a minimum of bubblegum, but a whole lot of rockin. Be sure to follow Hemendex on their soundcloud page here and give these rockers some well deserved love and support.

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