Anecdotes Of Wired Minds
St. Gallen, Switzerland
Let me welcome you on Paraphon’s behalf to Anecdotes of Wired Minds, an album that mixes dance-pop, mellow vibes and chiptune frills to create songs that are thought and dance-provoking. Anecdotes of Wired Minds feels set in the 80s with its attitude. Smooth synths and high melodies set over a smashing drum tone with enough tom rolls to keep any Hawaii 50 fan happy. Building on sounds created in the dark-synth genre, Paraphon add brighter tones to the traditional compositions adding something new and needed, pulling the album away from the darkness and even into the light at times.
‘Morning Thoughts’ is up to start the album. It breathes to life with a soft pad in the back and some shoulder-jiving synth melodies. The vocals break through, monotone and punctual like a drone up in the stratosphere. They come alive in the chorus and tie the song together. The subtle shifts and changes in emotion and pitch allow the vocals to not distract from the instrumental movements happening in the background constantly. This marriage of dance floor-busting synth-pop with melancholy vocals is one that I hope goes on and on. This album is unique in its delivery and we have the intensely clever vocals to thank for that.
The album throws some funk our way in ‘Told Me’. The bass line walks with a strut in stripy flares and the song orbits around it. Sharp guitar chops and a soft pad bring it together as the drums shift and change with the sections to keep it interesting. ‘Intermezzo’ is a fantastic instrumental number from Paraphon. It showcases their musicality to a T. Not lacking the complexities, they show us what can be done with simple sounds and a creative drum beat. It is all at once, nostalgic and new. It pulls the listener back into an alternate year 2000 where flying cars blot out the sun and the streets are empty, so we drive through the night, listening to the rest of Anecdotes of Wired Minds.
‘Miles’ oozes with dark pop, almost hitting Depeche Mode levels if it wasn’t for a steady grooving bass that keeps the song lively and builds perfectly into the chorus that features some splendid harmonies. ‘Wired Minds’ takes no time getting to the vocal hook that will keep you coming back to this song over and over. This time the focus is on the vocals and it works, the song is a sad one that shifts to an uplifting 80s ballad in places, with power chords and trailblazing arpeggio synth filling the void. ‘Afterlife’ lets Paraphon play and experiment with timings and synth conventions with shifting tones and textures that make it feel as if the synth is breathing alongside the breathless vocals. It is a mood shift but a welcome one, adding yet another facet to Anecdotes of Wired Minds.
‘Spanish Sahara’ is the longest song on the album and it’s worth every second as the story told throughout the track is personal and full of honesty. The instrumental plays with silence to keep us hooked. It layers up its instruments and beats, piece by piece, leaving space for the story and the vocals. The song becomes infinitely interesting the longer you sit in its soundscape with confounding lyrical metaphors and synthetic frills that dance atop the noise. Coming down from ‘Spanish Sahara’ Paraphon gives us ‘Forest of Fairytale’ a song that is beat heavy and full of electric animals calling over splashing pads. A fitting end to an album that blindsided me from start to finish. Its tone is deep, its composition is classic and Paraphon’s use of drums mixed with textural synth has buried Anecdotes of Wired Minds deep in my psyche. A brilliant synth album: great vox, stellar beats, powerful bass, and pads that shine all the way from the 80s. What more could you want?