Sweden’s Alone 1980 makes sprawling, electro masterpieces of dread and melancholy. Low key synths and electronics lock into late 70s/early 80s DIY horror scores, but Alone 1980 adds their own touches of pop/sci fi/electronic music to give it all a dreamy atmosphere. More like genre synth scores than just horror synth scores, Alone 1980s Mikael Skoog just appreciates a good exploitation score; whether it be horror, sci fi, slasher, creature feature, or crime flick. The 80s were ripe with low budget genre flicks and those single synth scores sunk into Skoog’s psyche and rewired his brain, much like it did many of us as pre-teen sponges with blank slates for brains.
Over the course of several albums, both released independently and with small indie labels like Spun Out Of Control, Alone 1980 has built a vast and awe-inspiring sound world. The new album, If Looks Could Kill, might be the electronic project’s most consistent and precise yet. Released on French label We All Run On Instinct, If Looks Could Kill establishes itself as a dark and brooding record full of Gothic undertones and industrial heft. There’s still that touch of melancholy throughout, but on every level If Looks Could Kill goes straight for the jugular.
The eleven tracks on Alone 1980’s masterful new album waste no time establishing the sonic world being presented. Touches of Giallo scores, early Abel Ferrara, and the out of left field late night sci fi flick come to mind listening to this fever dream of a record. Late night VHS vibes are abound here. There’s a consistent thru line here sonically that never lets up and I’m here for it.
Tracks like “Infinity”, “Prowler”, and “Leap Of Faith” bring to mind the excellent Eyes Down from Mr Eff and the exquisite Maniac score from Rob. I’m taken back to the 80s and being a little kid watching Tales From The Darkside, alone in the living room with all the lights off. Alone 1980 captures the innocence and vulnerability of childhood fear. It’s both wistful and wicked.
“Radio Hit” has a dystopian feel to it, with its apocalyptic synth line and disembodied voice, but then it’s followed up with the dreamy “Streetwalkin'” which is both wistful and tragic in its emotional interplay. “If Looks Could Kill”, the closer and title track, has a sort of cosmic transcendence to it. A positive note that ends our sonic trek through Alone 1980s heady nightmares and dreamscapes they’ve created for us.
If Looks Could Kill is another fantastic album from Alone 1980. Each release becomes more consistent in theme and sonic detail, making this album a taut, engaging musical fever dream of the highest order. Late night vibes to haunt your mind to.