Been in this retro ’80s vibe today. Probably because I started watching season 3 of “Stranger Things.” Also, I just got back from seeing “Spiderman: Far from Home,” which featured a fair share of ’80s tunes. So at the moment, that’s where my mind’s kickin’ it.
Although, I’m not really in the mood to pick an actual ’80s song. If I did, it would probably be Robbie Robb’s “In Time,” from the “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” soundtrack, more recently featured in the equally excellent series “Mr. Robot,” season 3, episode 7. That one takes all the epic ’80s cheese, and actually turns it into something kinda cool, while still embodying the decade in a truly faithful and celebratory way. But I digress.
Tonight is going be a spiritual return to the sound and soul of the ’80s, by way of contemporary synth-pop trio Gemini Rising, and their 2017 single “Best Case Life. ” This one is all about the optimism, and the joyous nature of doing what you love … and of course, loving it. I’m in that sort of mood tonight, particularly after having two major back-to-back earthquakes strike Los Angeles. Nothing to nudge you out of a complacent and solemn slumber like the shake and roll of the land beneath your feet.
Anyway, “Best Case Life” coincidentally struck my playlist shuffle earlier in the day, and it’s stuck with me ever since, reinforcing all those ’80s vibes percolating in the nostalgic corners of the stimulated brain. Gemini Rising sticks with the cleaner, vocals-up-front style of synth-pop, a faithful throwback to simpler subgenres, like new wave and new romanticism, which aim for emotional hooks, infectious melodies, and that trademark nocturnal neon wet-down style. I can also imagine some big exploding hair and day-glow colors, but I don’t think Gemini Rising’s lead vocalist Fiora fits that description. Her singular name does seem era appropriate, though.
This single comes from the self-titled 2017 EP, which also features another single I like, titled “Better Days.” Again, with the optimism. I guess you can never have enough. And a surplus does come in handy from time to time. This one’s more of a ballad, bedded with tubular synths, the occasional vocoded vocal modulation, and a welcomed mellifluous minimalism. It runs slightly over two and a half minutes, which is only ten seconds short of “Best Case Life.” It’s short, sweet, and straight to the point, which I feel characterizes some of my favorite ’80s pop-oriented music.
In keeping with that spirit, I’m going to leave it that. No need to ramble on. But I will say that Gemini Rising are ones to watch. To date, they’ve only got a couple of EPs, with a handful of songs. But they’ve definitely got the right idea. And I look forward to seeing where else their flashback flirtations take them. For now, enjoy the harmonious positivity of “Best Case Life” and “Better Days.”
“Best Case Life” from the 2017 EP “Gemini Rising.”
“Better Days” from the 2017 EP “Gemini Rising.”
And since I mentioned it, I thought I’d include that Robbie Robb single I spoke so highly of. “In Time” is from the late ’80s, ’89 to be exact. But it perfectly surmises how I feel about a lot of the more pop-cultured aspects of the decade. Sadly, there is no sign of this one on Spotify. So I’m giving you the Soundcloud embed instead. At least, in this instance, you get the whole single in one go. Enjoy this genuinely vintage flashback!