Afar

Ice Choir

Underwater Peoples Records, 2012

http://www.icechoir.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/20/2012

Kurt Feldman sure stays busy. He is the drummer for The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, but he's always been able to find time to pursue projects on the side. His latest endeavor is Ice Choir, a very retro outing with endless nods to '80s synth-pop with plenty of diversity. Created almost entirely by Feldman (with the exception of some backing vocals), he's able to create this bedroom pop style with just his laptop and an endless stretch of hotels. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Never one to be content with anything ordinary, Feldman works in plenty of classical, R&B, avant-garde pop, and even fleeting disco moments into a disc that could have very well been the soundtrack to any John Hughes movie in the '80s. It's a meshing of dream pop, New Wave, and keys that has you envisioning the punk rock kid dancing with the prom queen while everyone gasps out loud.

Afar begins with "I Want You Now And Always," a catchy synth-pop tune that you'll swear you heard on the radio in 1986 following a Tears For Fears hit. Feldman shows a lot of maturity in his work, but isn't afraid to plug in youthful late night vibes as well. Tracks like "The Ice Choir" and "Peacock In The Tall Grass" find a nice balance between vibrant and reckless while still being sophisticated in their delivery. While the songs are generally upbeat, bouncy, and danceable, "Two Rings" has a lot of aching beauty; the disc even closes on the ballad "Everything Is Spoilt By Use," which tugs at the heartstrings and takes help on vocal duties from Caroline Polachek, the front woman of Chairlift.

Sure, plenty of bands are playing '80s style music these days. Where Ice Choir stands out is Feldman's ability to pen a memorable, addictive song with extremely meticulous production and wonderfully layered synth. Amazing to think that he wrote, produced and played nearly all of this himself – it’s a feat few musicians could emulate. If you miss OMD and Spandau Ballet and find the bulk of '80s revivalists second rate at best, Afar will be a nice addition to your collection.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Underwater Peoples Records, and is used for informational purposes only.