Tuesday, 7 November 2017

EP: Sunset Exotic - Odyssey

Sunset Exotic - Odyssey

Info: Sunset Exotic is the solo project of Santa Rosa based producer/composer Charlie Foltz. Drawing inspiration from everything between new wave and French electro, Sunset Exotic aims to paint modern indie rock classics from Foltz's insatiable synth-lust.

Californian solo act Sunset Exotic is another DIY electronic act who belies expectations all across the board. With a grounding in highly influenced mid-60's garage-rock, Charlie Foltz went off on a major tangent roughly 18 months ago and began dabbling in electro-pop, the results were immediate. His double A-Side 'Chrysanthemum / More Human Than Human' and follow-up single 'High Fidelity' which features on this Odyssey EP were spectacular examples of an innate awareness of how pop music should be blended with electronic.

The EP's self-titled track begins proceedings, it opens sounding like The Beatles on Abbey Road getting ten times higher than they were at the time, and then the electro-funk gets poured in like syrup through a funnel, that keyboard progression is simple but resonant, this is high-grade 80's homage with a bold recklessness that pays off in spades. 

'What Is Happening To Me?' is the polygamous lovechild of Talking Heads, INXS, Prince and George Michael, euphoric magic crushed into four minutes, put this song on at any party anywhere and both involuntary movement and curiosity would be instant. Retro, eighties, day-glo is the new visitor on third track 'Ghosts', a suave lengthy intro meets Foltz' lusciously deep and ever so slightly gravelled vocal tone at the minute mark, straight up no frills electro-pop sugar in abundance. 

In our August review of single 'High Fidelity' we wrote; "Anyone who has ever enjoyed 80's pop, synth-pop, contemporary experimental music of any kind in fact, will adore 'High Fidelity'. The track opens with lackadaisical bubblegum calm, then shoots straight to the root of what makes Sunset Exotic so magical, a fizzing chorus of succinctly filtered vocals, guitar riffs and drumbeat pads all churning psychedelica out into the atmosphere in a technicolour bliss." Those feelings still stand and the track still somehow manages to get better and better with every listen.

Following the more introspective voyage of 'State of Emergency', which is once again an entirely loyal homage to dark 80's synthpop, almost Gallic in execution, comes a spell-binding close to a spell-binding EP in the form of sixth track '(30)'. It's hard to imagine how there could still be anything left in the tank, but Sunset Exotic sounds like he could go all day, week, month and year. Despite a little lick of The Cure, the closer is without doubt the most contemporary moment on Odyssey, if this was a Wild Beasts single I would probably be a big fan rather than someone with a passing interest. 

I began writing this review a couple of days ago and in the interim up until day wondered was I being too lavish in my praise, sometimes a pause and a bit of reflection is no harm. However, I wouldn't change anything I've expressed above, this is a gratuitously giving collection of songs from a wonderful musical mind, energy, joy, hints of darkness, euphoria and infinite reward, Odyssey is the best EP I've heard this year.

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