Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tommy '86 Is A Disco Machine

By Sam Beck

There is divinity in a Friday night out.

An incomparable feeling of promise, maybe a little hope and surely a joyous, nearly electric anxiety to just where the night could lead. It doesn’t particularly matter how it all ends up. Often times that end point is nowhere good.

What matters is that it happened.

In a world of office jobs, computer screens and disconnection it can be the only thing that feels like it truly matters. But the addictive nature of those feelings, and what may come, as a natural extension of the night and the events therein is what continues the tradition of weekly pilgrimages out of the house to be with other people. To have a shared experience. That the night could be that night. The kind of night that helps to define a life.

Maybe that’s the appeal of the 80’s in popular culture to this day. That for a brief time, pop culture took a shit-load of coke, said ‘screw it’ and decided to just revel in the promises of how great things could be.

Pretending every night could be the night.

And Tommy ‘86 just wrote one hell of a love letter to that night.

This plus-sized ep (clocking in at 30 minutes plus) feels like a concept album to the night you can’t help but imagine you’ll have as you lace up your high tops, pull the perfect jean jacket over your shoulders and resist (or don’t) the urge to high five your reflection in the mirror before you dash out the door to just plain get on with it.

Opener 'Revival' is simply the perfect jam to imagine dancing through the apartment as you get ready, a smile creeping across your face not just because you have pieced together the perfect outfit but even your favorite pair of underwear is clean. And honestly, what could go wrong with that perfect ode to craftsmanship and delicate part protection on?

The following track, 'Back to Basics' features a bass line that just screams riding in the car with your friends feeling like the night belongs to you. Synths stab through the song like each neon sign through the dark night, hitting hard and slowly fading out as you ideally stare out the passenger side window.

I can only assume that one of the EP’s stand-outs, 'New Lands', was written as Tommy sauntered into some raging Italian disco. The song starts with hard kick drums, slowly building the bass line until the synths explode into color, overwhelming the listener with sound. It is the experience of walking to the door of a new club and suddenly, upon opening the door the full sound of the music, the people dancing and laughing and the realization of what the whole night has been building toward finally comes to fruition in purely musical form.

The soulful piano lines of 'If Dreams Could Become Reality' backed by breathy synths and claps replicate the feeling of seeing that girl across the club. Somehow the crowd parts perfectly and she somehow looks directly into your eyes and you’re not sure if you have melted into the floor, but time has seemed to stop, so your only way to gauge is that your angle on this dance club angel has yet to change. And then…


Mercifully broken by the words, 'DISCO MACHINE'. With that vote of confidence, you kick back your drink, take a deep breath and walk across the club, never breaking the gaze you’ve been sharing with that beautiful girl. She just stands up and you walk to the dance floor and suddenly the night becomes a blur of colored lights, shots and the best dance moves you didn’t even know you had.

The album ends with 'A Song for People in Love', with its deep synth layers and slow pounding beat it is the end of the night. You’ve climbed into the cab behind this girl and you can’t help but be overwhelmed by the warm feeling deep in your chest. She may not be the one, but she’s someone with whom you’ve shared the perfect night. You could tell her you love her, and in your state of half-inebriated euphoria, you wouldn’t be lying. But why say anything when you can see it in her eyes as plainly as you know she can in yours?

Girlfriend Records presents:Tommy ‘86  Disco Machine  on iTunesGoogle Play Music,  Juno  AmazonDeezer,  Spotify and Bandcamp in all manner of digital formats. Tommy ‘86’s ode to a Friday night is a gorgeous work, the music that sticks with you is the music that takes you back to your memories. Disco Machine takes you to memories that have yet to come. It is without a doubt a Synthetix Reference Experience.

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