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Greyskull’s Eighties Kids: Nostalgic Ear Candy for Saturday Mornings (and NIGHTS!!!) of Smurf Magic Berries Cereal and Mer-Man Memories

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greyskull Eighties Kids

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The boy wakes up. His hair is a mess that no comb will be able to contain.  Dirk the Daring, the best knight in the kingdom of King Ethelred, stares back at him from his wall.  The kid, a little pudgy around the middle, flexes in the mirror before slipping on his shirt.  He goes down the stairs.  His Big Dog shirt hangs loose as he checks the view from the window.  The sun is out.  It will be a good day of riding the bike to the ballpark and he grins. 

He grabs a big bowl and picks up the box of cereal.  Orange juice is poured.  He might be finished after the second bowl.  There won’t be lunch.  No time.  Doesn’t really matter.  The free checkers that came inside the cereal box was pretty awesome.  The boy puts the bowl in the sink.  He grabs his Walkman and fastens the headphones, making sure the cord won’t get caught in the pedals of his bike.  And he is off.  New adventures await him and his buddies.

To my ears, “Run for the Treeline” – with its slick pulsating notes and crystalline electronic buzzes – in Greyskull’s dynamic debut, Eighties Kids, wordlessly speaks volumes to its audience.  This is the opening track, after all, and it suggests the immediate past is still possible as this artist, who has already successfully remixed Tom Petty and Ellie Goulding, respects the foundation of synthwave while managing to introduce a mob of fresh ideas. The sprinkling of synths in the album opener, complete with an awesome keyboard solo, provides the outline for what this release will be about: innocence and imagination by way of a silver and blue Moongoose Californian as it zips through a small town, whether its rider be a boy or a girl. 

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The emotional ring of “When I See Her, I’ll Tell Her” seals all these thoughts together in a sugary-sweet taste of retrograde deliciousness.  This is the second and most romantically nuanced track on this epic release and the echoing synth toward its tail end recalls the highs of Daft Punk and their distortion sequencing.  It’s not quiet in its stretch toward the sun but it is impossible – especially when those tom-toms and 80s handclaps kick in – to NOT think of your first crush as a driving electronic bass washes over us.

Greyskull’s purposeful command of the sound from a bygone era is to be envied.  Across 12 solid tracks, his rigorous prowess when it comes to the creation of tuneage is present in dynamic and catchy methods.  Consistently.  You want dark?  You’ve got tracks like “Ride the Path” to get you through the adventure as its tide-like synths roll in and out of your ears.  You want mysterious and exciting?  Then crank up “Get the Bikes” and rock out to its layered control and witness the magic as it segues into the Stephen Galgocy-fronted hook of “Outside My Garage” and then, out of sheer exhaustion, fall to the floor.

 

By the power of GREYskull, Eighties Kids is a masterpiece of nostalgic ear candy!  Don’t get your loincloth in a bunch, He-Man.  The name is purposefully misspelled.


 

Each driving beat contains a nugget of the story here.  Each moment of bliss that follows is like another page turned in this electronic novel written by Greyskull and his synthesized solos.  And the screen-centered purple warmth that glides through all the tunes – especially “You Can Bring Your Toys” and “Picked Up From the Dance” – pushes listeners to the edge of their own comfort levels with vaporwave-like guitar treatments of once clear memories.  The closer we get to the end, the more the guitar comes out to play.  One can’t help but dig in to the licks.

And then, with nary one thought to dessert, we get gems like “Flashlight Tag” and “Save the Clock Tower” to completely knock us back onto our heels; Greyskull is not done with us yet.  All of this sweet action brings me to one pure memory that I can’t help but embrace.  It is, in fact, how I started the review: every Saturday morning with nothing but time to kill on my bike, riding through town.  This would have been that soundtrack to those sunny days. 

The electronic nostalgia is certainly strong with Eighties Kids, a 12-track song cycle that hits every single note of its “Rebel Yell” attitude and knocks it right out of the park.  It is, indeed, pitch perfect in its aim and its intention.  It begins and ends, sneaking up on you with strong electronic poise, with a kickass pulsating wash of synth-based melodies that are both dark and magical.  These songs, percussion-soaked and passionate, reach out from the past of our John Carpenter-led youth and steer, with sticky hands, the direction that our BMX bikes should go.

Greyskull may not realize this but, as far as the legacy of the synthwave scene in music is concerned, he has a breathtaking debut album on his hands that is sure to be remembered as a favorite for a long time to come.  It is adventurous in its storytelling and, as it blips and bleeps with the very best of the artists in the genre, merely hints at the greatness to come from this artist. 

By the power of GREYskull, Eighties Kids is a masterpiece of nostalgic ear candy!  Don’t get your loincloth in a bunch, He-Man.  The name is purposefully misspelled.    

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