Synthcake’s Musicophilia is not a new record. It’s been out since 2011. So why am I writing about it? Well, because it’s brand new to me. Recently Kieron Rhys Lillo of Antiparty sent me a mix CD containing a lot of different bands from around Canada. Synthcake were on there, and they were the band that really stood out to me among the others. Yes, it’s old, but I couldn’t help but write about it. New music is created every second of every single day (probably, I haven’t done the research), we can’t expect to hear everything right away, sometimes it takes a little time. In this case it took me three years, but here we are.
Synthcake are not the kind of band that you can stick a label on, file it away under a certain genre and be done with it. Their Twitter profile describes them as “weird dark gypsy synthpop.” If you had to place them somewhere, synthpop would be where they’d sit, but they aren’t really like any synthpop you’ve heard before. Combining trumpet, accordion, glockenspiel, synths, Wurlitzer with Lana Pitre’s vocals that at times take on a childlike innocence, and at others has a sultry, smooth, velvety almost 1950’s jazz-like touch; you’ll feel like you’re walking through a circus, but maybe you took a wrong turn at the tightrope walkers.
While listening to Musicophilia it’s hard to tell if you should be scared, or happy, or somehow both. The playful sounds will paint pictures of happy circuses and general good times in your head, as the music bursts out of your speakers in a splash of neon colour. Mixed into that are macabre notes that play with your mind leaving you happy, but with a sense of unease. It’s the musical embodiment of being alone, but feeling eyes on you. Pitre’s vocals will lull you into a false sense of security as she expertly sings with a childlike innocence, but the entire time you know she can “cut through these demons like a samurai.”
Synthcake will take you on a journey through music to the other side of pop. The side radio stations, and mainstream media don’t want you to know exists. The side with balloon animals full of poisonous gas and happy clowns that hold knives behind their backs.
I may be three years too late when it comes to Musicophilia, but as they say, better late than never.
Musicophilia is available for free at synthcakemusic.bandcamp.com