Survive Record Review
Half of local foursome Survive fresh off soundtracking the phenomenon that's become Stranger Things, the electro-wave group's sophomore full-length commences more melodious than the hit sci-fi series' score. After 20 seconds of what sounds like an asteroid plunging toward Earth, earworm opener "A.H.B." thumps a rhythmic pulse that grounds the quartet's layers of analog synthesizer. "Other" then crashes on arrival, its tom-tom backbeat recalling Jason Voorhees' sinister "ki-ki-ki" sound effect. Extraterrestrialism trumps horror on this cut anyway, with a cosmic croon channeling E.T. over the Friday the 13th slayer. Thriller themes soon return. "Sorcerer" nods ominously and seemingly outright to seminal synth pioneers Tangerine Dream, who scored William Friedkin's 1977 remake by the same title of existential French thriller The Wages of Fear, its sonogram sounds billowing inner and outer space missions gone terribly awry. "Low Fog" echoes Stranger Things' paranormal tone – ambient and expressive in its patient crawl – while "Copter" upshifts mood to pensive with a buoyant-but-brooding New Wave motif straight out of a moody John Hughes flick. Like Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon's Netflix score, the entirely instrumental nine-track disc vibes New Order's eerier eras (see "Elegia"). "Cutthroat" taps in plain-sailing key plunks, its eldritch imagery so acute that Halloween-wily listeners might flash to Michael Myers' white mask o' terror. That John Carpenter-esque closer marks the cessation of the most otherworldly voyage one can travel in 40 minutes. The album's tuneful riffs distinguish it from Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon's soundtrack, which favors ambience over refrain. Like Scottish IDM duo Boards of Canada and/or Trent Reznor's soundtrack work (Lost Highway, The Social Network), RR7349 mingles the tangible with the abstract to spur a novel meld of both imaginative atmosphere and gripping substance.