By now, I think I can say my relationship with synthwave/darkwave is pretty serious. Being transported back to 80s horror and sci-fi is a treat, and the style’s best artists (GosT, Perturbator, Tommy ’86) are masterful storytellers and musicians, able to create dazzling records that transport the listener to another world. Plus, synthwave is incredible road trip music. Few synthwave artists are interested in moving the style forward and progressing beyond the 80s (which, to be fair, is a large part of the appeal).
What is fascinating about French project Fixions is how they embody the style and sound of the 80s (just look at that neon cover art), while attempting to bridge the gap between darkwave and more modern electronic styles. Genocity sounds like a rave at a dystopian retrofuturist camp, partying the night away before an attempt to topple a corrupt regime in 2150. The album contains the best qualities of darkwave, like Perturbator’s deft touch at balancing mood-setting moments with bursts of energy and Tommy ’86’s undulating songwriting approach. However, Fixions style is much more concerned with energy and forward momentum. In many ways, this feels like the soundtrack to a forgotten cyperpunk movie or video game from the early 90s.
Genocity paints and dark and dreary atmosphere, but these songs are ravenously catchy and could easily work on the dancefloor. The fact that this is more sci-fi than horror also helps the atmosphere, as the record comes across much less like a John Carpenter clone than your average synthwave record. These French 80s fanatics know how to push the right electronic buttons, though, as this is easily among the best synthwave albums released in recent memory. They came out of nowhere (or the future?), but Fixions deserve to be mentioned among the greats like Perturbator, GosT, and Dan Terminus.