Gloom Influx / Voyageur
The second you hit play on Voyageur you become instantly aware of two things. 1.) Gloom Influx looked the sophomore jinx in the face and laughed. This second full length doesn't fall into any of the follow-up pitfalls that plague so many artists. 2.) Gloom Influx is operating on a level that is so far above what passes for standard synthwave these days. I had to sit back for a minute and appreciate what I was experiencing before starting to soak it in for my review.
First things first, this is NOT First LP, the Gloom Influx 2017 debut. The roots are there, but much like the house on the artwork for Voyageur, he's burned things to the ground and built off of that firm foundation he created. Not only does it work, it's a brave, scary, and bold move on his part. I think that's why you don't hear massive leaps like this very often between albums. First LP was fantastic, including a nomination for Album of the Year here at Echosynthetic. So why not build on that? Well, the ugly truth is that if you keep building on top of your previous success without innovation you're doomed for a collapse. Thankfully, Voyageur is full of innovative ideas.
It's really hard to pigeonhole the Voyageur sound...and that's not a bad thing. It's really hard to compare this to anything else in the synthwave field. That being said, it's strangely familiar and accessible, which I can't explain. There's something about it that just strikes a chord inside you, like you know this and you want more of it. For starters, it's a more aggressive album. It's fast paced, blisteringly so sometimes, but just when you think you know where a track is headed, Gloom Influx turns things on its side and takes a new course mid-song. It makes for an exciting listen because you're never quite sure where you're going to land, even with multiple listens!
I think that Gloom Influx has created a full blown epic with Voyageur, an album he should be proud of. It stands up with the best of the business and escalates the name Gloom Influx into the rare air they share. If you aren't jamming to this record right now, please...please fix that.