My first exposure to electronic duo Alone In The Woods was their excellent track “I Never Came Up For Air” off of Burning Witches Records’ RSD 2018 compilation Communion. From that track I knew there was something quite remarkable at play. The band, which consists of Jon Dobyns and Lon Bologna, are production wizards. They already know how to cultivate and create sonic delights as seasoned producers, having done quite well in the synth pop realm as Twitch The Ripper. Before that the two old friends were in the hardcore/punk scene in the late 90s thru the early 2000s. Dobyns is also a curator of LPs, having started Tiger Lab Vinyl in 2014 with Clint Carney. With Tiger Lab Vinyl Dobyns scratches the collector’s itch by reissuing anime soundtracks on vinyl.
In other words, Alone In The Woods are music lifers.
Now we have Alone In The Woods self-titled debut with Burning Witches Records. It’s a rich and complex electronic record that reveals new sounds and layers with each listen. There are darker elements here, but more than that AITW is an amazing electro pop album in the vein of classic Depeche Mode, New Order, and Sisters of Mercy with a nod to 80s scores by Tangerine Dream and Charles Bernstein.
“Into The Woods” opens the record in a dizzying swirl of both menace and wonder, beginning in a cloak of darkness but exploding into hard electro. “Ripples” echoes elements of Depeche Mode and Thompson Twins, with a nod to more Gothic elements. There’s something very ethereal about “Woods Funeral”. It holds a dreamy quality like some of Oneohtrix Point Never’s more lucid moments. But Dobyns and Bologna add some hip hop elements into the beat department which makes the track stand out. “Digging Holes”, despite its dark intentions in the title department, is pure pop. Hypnotic and engaging from start to finish.
Alone In The Woods seamlessly stitch together these electronic elements into dense and engaging tracks. Something like “Torn In The Tundra” feels like there’s more than meets the ears. It’s melancholy and ghostly melody ignites something in the brain to take note. “Mother of Deers” pulsates like headlights at night, moving you along into the darkness. Intense and riveting. Album closer “New Roots Old Growth” is a stunning closer. It feels steeped in some kind of dark history, as if ancient sounds are being performed with futuristic precision.
Alone In The Woods have made a stunning debut album. It succeeds on many levels. One, as a pristine display of sonic expertise and production skill. Dobyns and Bologna excel at building lavish tracks that feel organic and lush, but not overly complicated. Most importantly though, Alone In The Woods have made an engaging album filled with melodic delights and dark, electro pop intentions. The songs all carry their own bit of shadowy magic and fill your head with visions of both beauty and things that lurk in the dark. It’s a Grimm fairy tale come to life with synths, beats, and sonic magic.
7.9 out of 10
Alone In The Woods is available now via Burning Witches Records.