The 80s was a wonderful time to be alive. This was the last (and perhaps first) decade during which mainstream popular music wasn’t largely utter garbage. A time when movies featured men and women being not mere men and women, but SUPERMEN and ULTRAWOMEN, running around with huge pecs and leotards respectively, shooting and kissing their way through cocaine fueled terrorist organisations of vague ethnic origin. For the kids, there were Transformers, He Man and the Masters of the Universe, 8-bit Nintendo and SEGA… Whatever, you’ve all seen this shit on Youtube, regardless of your age.
The 80s was also the time when Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” and “Back in the High Life Again” actually won at music, and put a stop to any real need to do any more of it. Because of this, it may not make sense to try and capture the spirit of the decade in audio form. Nonetheless, that is what Lazerpunk! have attempted to do with Nightcrawler. They’ve done so in a very interesting fashion. Hard retro electronic music, bordering on EBM/body synth, with influences of 80s pop, several different strands of techno (including, in “Miami Mafia”, Hardcore) and even a wiff of chiptune. This is creative recycling at its finest. The cover of the album, which is available on digipak as well as pay-what-you-want download, flirts with films such as Tron (1982), Black Rain (1989) and another one which eludes me right now because of wine consumption. The general mood of this music will give you total recall (pardon) of everything from Blade Runner to arcade machines and video games.
If you were not yet born, or perhaps dead, in the 80s, it is less clear what this album will do for you. It is still very catchy, with cool melodies and hard beats. There are digitally distorted vocals exclaiming romantic poetry like “Baby, you’re a million dollars/Give them to me.” Come to think of it, it is highly likely that even little snots born in the 90s and later will appreciate this stuff, because despite all that has been said above, it really isn’t just a nostalgia trip. We’re talking competent synth/electronic music that, while based on a consistent, hard core of EBM-like electronics and beats, utilizes about three million different synthesizer settings and sounds to create that wonderful journey through the spiritual ether of 80s popular culture. At times it even breaks off from the template – tracks such as “Night Sky” explore different moods and leave the D.A.F.-like humpa-bumpa be for a while. Usually, we’re back to the EBM within a few minutes, which at least I have no problem with.
“Crime is the disease. Meet the Cure”, was the tagline of the 1986 film Cobra starring Sylvester Stallone. That movie may well be the cinematic counterpart of this album, and if you keep the line in your head while listening to Nightcrawler, you’ll learn something about yourself and the world. Like not to drink so much while writing reviews.
Either way, Lazerpunk! is absolutely spectacular, a must have, buy-or-die type of deal, that will at the very least appeal to anyone who was there to experience the magic that was the 1980s. And maybe, hopefully, also to those poor, useless souls that weren’t.