Influences burst out all over on ‘Urban Heat Island’, a whistle-stop tour of the smarter end of 80s synth pop/rock. The sound forged by Night Works – in reality the one-man band of Gabriel Stebbings – who’s worked with Metronomy and neo yacht-rockers The Twenties – means that they share the same playpen as Phoenix, Empire Of The Sun and The Whitest Boy Alive. But it’s the former band that they’re closest to. Like the Frenchmen, soaring, uplifting anthems abound.
It’s led out by ‘Modern European’, with its retro, kitsch, polyphonic synth twiddlings and fizzy, snapping snares while Stebbings invokes the blue-eyed, wordy 80s girl/boy interplay of Prefab Sprout on ‘Nathaniel’. After Jamie Lidell’s Prince love-in in last month’s Mixmag, ‘I Tried So Hard’ also references the Purple One, albeit in weepy, digital ballad mode. ‘Share The Weather’ sticks with the 80s theme – in this case adopting the clever-clever electro-pop approach of Blancmange and Scritti Politti – before giving way to a cheesy but grin-inducing rap. More George Michael than Rick Ross, mind. It’s not all some nostalgia fest though; Night Moves is at its most contemporary, pop and dance-wise, on ‘Long Forgotten Boy’ with its 4/4 beat, spiralling guitar lick and ravey synth stabs.
Could you call it modern Balearic? Well, we have now…
File under: Glistening 80s pop meets Phoenix-style festival anthems
Download: ‘Modern European’, ‘Share The Weather’, ‘Long Forgotten Boy’
Like this? Try Phoenix ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ (V2)