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Computronic's Even the Score: Because Life Can Change with the Flip of a Coin

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Computronic's Even the Score

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Insert coin.  Push play.  Wrap your hands around the joystick and let Computronic’s Even The Score tale you back to the glory days of playing Atari for hours on end.  Whether at the local skating rink or at home in front of the Atari 2600, the hours spent there never seem wasted.  They are, as one song on this cycle suggests, etched “forever in my mind”. 

And, oh, the joy of it all!  Even the Score is a 10-song electronic euphoria that reaches far beyond its originator’s intentions.

 Computronic, a synthwave artist from Canada, tips his hat to the stories tangled inside films like Better Off Dead and The Karate Kid with this lively album that tells of heartbreak and redemption all in front of the Atari.  If you lived through the 1980s, you know exactly what that means.  His work here is glorious in its callback to the familiar tropes of teenage flicks from the 1980s and, thanks to repeated listens of Stephanie Mills’ “Bit By Bit (Theme from Fletch)”, he makes something both danceable and memorable, lasting far beyond the actual running time of the album.

Computronic

Things get started with the blissfully arousing call to arms in the opener, “Even the Score”, as it percolates with a synthesized style all its own.  Featuring lyrics sung by Becca Star Bird, this 4-minute jewel perfectly kicks off the main theme of this filmless soundtrack.  Who can’t relate to its observations about playing video games?  “Flashing lights are so familiar, the glow that sets my soul aflame,” she sings and, with the final echo of the last note, I am right there standing in front of the arcade’s warm neon glow.

It is 1984 again and I love it.  No internet.  No spoilers.

With the synthwave scene bursting forward telling stories through synth alone, Computronic rises to the top due to his brilliance in capturing heartfelt fiction with each and every electronic squelch and Ableton Live noodling.  Quick. Responsive.  It’s as if the world of Miami Vice is just one arpeggiated chord away from sucking you in through your headphone speakers.

Computronic

The story is all laid out in the synthesized styling of the second track on the album, “Ready Runner One”, and its fist-pumping action as one local legend of Atari, teenager Rick Donald, begins his day.  He’s fairly active – a hot shot of the high school – who is just about to meet a girl named Sam.  By the evening hours, he is taking her to the local arcade and “Love is Innocent” with vocals by Vicky Harrison reminds listeners that, yes, love is exactly that.

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The evening is perfect until he takes on Tommy Scores, a new arrival to the small town, in an arcade game that he normally rules at and is tragically defeated.  Badly.  As the next song suggests, he must “Step Aside” and is dealt a blow by handclaps and electric guitars chugging away.  How could he lose to this guy?!  Who is this guy?!  With an active progression of percussion loops and sequencing, Rick sets himself on a soul-checking journey after being destroyed by this stranger.

Highlighted by “Running the Storm” with vocals by Vandal Moon, this crushing blow sends Rick back to basics.  It is a night of introspection, as Rick will soon face some tough decisions.  And the music is fitting, echoes and fades, vocals low in the mix, and then it settles into its throbbing beat. 

His favorite arcade is soon going up for sale.  Money must be found to save it.  And this Tommy dude, with a mysterious past, must be dealt with once and for all.  How it all comes together, though, is the beauty in this narrative.  The electronic gel that holds this narrative together is an emotional encode that works to bring us into Rick's world. 

Featuring character voice work by some of Computronic’s friends and Vampire Step-Dad (who also lends his guitar licks to “Wishing”), Even the Score is the best movie from the 1980s about the arcade that you’ve never seen.  We get the blazing opener, several montages, and a rousing final number that sends us completely over the 8-bit electronic moon.

Even the Score is the picture-perfect synth-smattered soundtrack for our days of thunder, whether they are past or present … because life can change with the flip of a coin.

listenListen to Computronic's Even the Score

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