They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but can you breathe new life into an aging style? Leave it to French synthwave act The Sacrifice to offer up an astounding and rousing rebuttal to those who say the 80s-aping style is on its last (electronic) beats.
Their Season of Mist debut is moving in all senses of the word, but it’s in how the group manipulate stereotypes and expectations that results in their creation of something truly magical and memorable. Indeed, The Sacrifice might just be one the most fun electronic releases in years.
While this is most certainly a synthwave release—fans of Carpenter Brut and Gunship will be in neon Heaven—The Sacrifice’s take on the style is decidedly informed by a broader array of styles. There are ample doses of 80s metal, Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, and even 90s industrial.
Rel’s elastic vocals can belt out a hook as easily as a robotic intonation, accentuating the myriad sounds the French group display on this breezy-yet-packed record. Indeed, none of these 11 songs sound remarkably similar—“Violent Devolution” is purposefully terrifying with its slithering synths, while “Under the Moon” is as immediately hooky as any 80s earworm. The Floyd and metal influences are mostly accents, just another dial on the musical modulator to mess with the listener’s expectations.
It all comes together in a package that may be initially a bit confusing—is this a pop record or something more sinister? The answer, of course, is both; this French act have conjured up something quite delightful and daring—an 80s homage that doesn’t necessarily sound like every other synthwave copycat. The Sacrifice are up to something weird and wonderful with this arresting collection of synth jams.