As the seasons change, there is comfort to be found in the ritual of cycles: green to red, light to dark, warm to cool. Boy Is Fiction slides easily into the comfort of shoegaze, breakbeat, glitch. For many, these genres lie on the discard pile, but the grace of the discard pile is that one can find treasure there. Now add the crisp mastering of Mike Cadoo, sublime stereo effects and a keen sense of melody, and Deeper Than Static becomes a fitting album to play while driving down the long highway and contemplating the end of summer.
Opener “in Between” is one of the album highlights, reminiscent of The Cure, but with drums that could have come from 65dos. Another layer of drums fades in, as if visiting from a trance 12″. At the beginning of “Disbelief,” the beats seem hard, but the song has an ambient breakdown and returns with a rhythmic bell. The entire album possesses a melancholic tinge, which seems to recognize that it is part of a dying breed. And yet, this melding of styles enables Boy Is Fiction to transcend nostalgic status to reach the contemporary.
In “Synthetic,” the album pauses: no piano, no beats, only washes of synth, as befits its title. Side B’s “I Told You I’d Find You” continues this quietude with a romantic tone, the title reminiscent of Clannad’s “I Will Find You” and the key dialogue from the film “The Last of the Mohicans.” Now that the lovers have been reunited, the title track invites them to dance with a wisp of voice atop confident drum programming. “Kata” is a burst of exuberance, returning to the energy of the opener, as if a crisis has been survived. The heart soars, unbridled.
The very title of closer “See You On the Flipside” is endearing. This is a vinyl record after all (and purchasers won’t have to wait for it ~ it’s already in stock). Alex Gillett leaves on a high note with the LP’s fastest patterns, a double-time IDM backdrop supporting an electropop foreground. We already want to see him on the flipside, whether returning to Side A or catching him on tour.
Those of us who have been alive for a while may say we miss the 80s, but we don’t really miss the 80s; we miss the way we felt when we listened to music in the 80s, a feeling conjured by this set. It’s good to know that this Australian is keeping the flame lit. (Richard Allen)