One glance at the t-shirt racks of a Hot Topic or the recent film work of Michael Bay should convince you…if you didn’t already notice…that the 80s remain uber hip. Plenty of other junior pop-culture writers have already pointed out how a lot of people babbling about the Reagan years didn’t actually exist during them, so I’ll spare you a point as done-to-death as “ya know, they really aren’t laughin’ when they type lol.” These things work in cycles…I’ve pegged May of 2011 as the start of the grunge revival…but this 80’s adoration has been going strong for a long time despite the fact many of the things inspired by or actually from (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hasn’t aged well, sadly) that era aren’t all that memorable. This has led to not only people who admire nearly anything that can be labeled “retro,” but also a counter-movement that rejects this sort of nostalgia. The question becomes…when people are so ready to embrace or shun things just because they come from/evoke a certain time, how can we properly judge the media in question?
Tokyo band Dorian‘s “Morning Calling” doesn’t hide it’s influences. The cheeseball video (below) gives it away, but the actual song’s reliance on bright synths and an all-about-me guitar solo does the exact same thing. Judge away…but ignore where these influences originated and just focus on the song. Like fellow Japanese band The Brixton Academy, Dorian use 80’s sounds to make great music, not half-assed Saturday Night Live skits. “Morning Calling” develops an amazing groove glazed with a few tropical elements – see, bongos – that works as a solid dancefloor number. This swims in similar waters as fellow retro-users-not-abusers Junior Boys (the icy electronics poking underneath), The Tough Alliance (the beat coupled with the Balearic feel) and…I’ve just realized how similar Dorian’s name is to them…Delorean (the entire sun-soaked dance vibe). Don’t dismiss “Morning Calling” just because it owes a debt to the Alf years – give it a real shot to impress on its own.
(Thanks to Neaux for posting this first)