June 19, 2021 — If there is one thing that can be said about UK-based synthwave-stalwarts LeBrock, it is they have a style unlike anyone else in music which is, of course, no revelation to fans of the duo.
LeBrock’s mixture of vocals, thriving guitars, eclectic synthesizers, and emotional lyrics give them a unique sound that moves between 70s rock and the vibe of an 80s action movie soundtrack medley — all sprinkled with just the right amount of rebellious pop-punk. Only yesterday, on June 18, the popular duo released their new album Fuse to much anticipation, but does it deliver?
FOR THE LOVE OF SINGLES
Unconventionally, the duo had released six album singles prior to the album release, and fans will be quick to recognize more than half of the songs as “heard before”. Fuse’s singles have received varying levels of attention, with one in particular standing out, namely ‘Takes All Night (Dance With The Dead Remix)’ which has already garnered nearly a million plays on Spotify (it is the last track on the album.) Time will tell if the rather aggressive release schedule of singles will pay off for LeBrock, and also if the five new tracks are enough to please fans. That aside, we think it is safe to wager LeBrock will more than succeed, owing to unrivaled tact, skill, and style.
FALSE START IGNITION REVS UP
Fuse does not start out with much fanfare, with the rather bland ‘All or Nothing’ serving as the opening track. While not a terrible song, it sounds half-hearted and somewhat generic. The next track ‘Heartstrings’ is decidedly more on-style for LeBrock (and one of the six singles released before the album was compiled.) ‘Heartstrings’ comes packed with late 80s inspiration and even manages to conjure up images of early 90s rock, a time when bands were leaving behind big hair and power ballads and had not quite found the next commercial sound.
“Influenced by styles that span the 70s, the 80s, and the early 90s, the seminal synthwave duo has developed their own unique “trademark sound” that belongs exclusively to LeBrock — and LeBrock only.”
Genre fans will love ‘Interstellar’ which has a dreamy feel to it carefully mixed with electric guitar riffs. Being another single released prior to the album, it has already proven to be a hit, with the Spotify numbers indicating it as the second most-listened-to song on the album at the time of writing. ‘Interstellar’ is followed by the hard-hitting ‘Hollow’ which is a change of pace for the album, reminiscent of what you might hear if you watched a high-speed 80s teen movie. After it concludes, the album takes another quick turn with ‘Bright Light’ which has a distinct vibe that comes off a bit like an early 2000s pop-punk song, brilliantly composed and highly likable.
HEATING UP, TAKING OFF
The album then goes full-on true LeBrock-style with ‘Hanging On’ which is a great song that offers up imagery of some of the best 80s action and thriller movie scenes. In fact, it would not be at all surprising if Van Damme or Stallone are working out to the song — on repeat. The next offering brings Fuse to a halt as ‘Takes All Night’ is one of the most forgettable songs on the album and one that quickly gets old (however, the remixed version which also happen to be another single release, is the most listened-to song on the album at this point in time.)
The tempo turns up once more with ‘Synthetic’ which has an upbeat, bubbly sound that reminds listeners music can be all about synth-rockin’ fun. The remaining new tracks of the album are ‘In Time’ and ‘Rush’ both of which sound as if they were heavily inspired by 70s rock, rolling pleasantly with big vocals and up-tempo airy compositions that are likely to make fans feel like they are floating through the songs at high speed.
Finally, the album is capped off by Dance With The Dead’s remix of ‘Takes All Night’ which is an ingenious work of artistic sound engineering, adding the heavier sound Dance With the Dead is known and loved for, while in the process converting the song into a hard-hitting rock song many LeBrock-fans will surely want to turn up as they drive mindlessly through the night of summer, windows down — heading nowhere in particular.
OUT OF 10
THE GOOD STUFF
- Wide range of masterfully mixed song styles offers something for everyone.
- Great vocals turn the singing into its own instrument.
- Packed with tracks that conjure great memories of 80s pop culture (especially to those slightly older.)
- Fans will be disappointed to find out more than half of the songs were already released as singles.
- Two or three songs are somewhat generic, bordering on filler content.
- Although the lyrics a sung awesomely, the writing is not particularly stand-out.
Although many will have gotten a significant taste of Fuse courtesy of the six singles already released, the album is definitely worthy of attention as a whole. It is not the strongest lyrical set of songs, which is not to say the lyrics aren’t good, only that they are not overly memorable. Then again, they do not need to be as LeBrock successfully uses sung lyrics as one more main instrument that boosts all tracks while adding significantly to the album’s diverse set of song arrangements.
Influenced by styles that span the 70s, the 80s, and the early 90s, the seminal synthwave duo has developed their own unique “trademark sound” that belongs exclusively to LeBrock — and LeBrock only. Fuse is a satisfactory record, one that genre and LeBrock fans alike will surely rob the best songs from to add to their favorite playlists before they move on.
LeBrock’s new album Fuse is available now on their Bandcamp page and can, of course, also be streamed from all major music services. As per usual, our favorite tracks have been added to Yestermade’s seminal Spotify playlist ‘Vocal Retrowave: Top of the Line’.