SHVLLOWS’s tagline on their SoundCloud reads as follows: “The UK’s hot new answer to 80’s electro pop.” It is an interesting statement, to say the least. What makes it most interesting is the implied question – up until now, I was unaware that “80s electro pop” was in question. If anything, the past few years have shown just how nostalgic everyone is about the 80’s. Everything under the sun that is remotely of that aesthetic has seen an incredible rise in popularity recently. If this is the case (which it is), just what is it that SHVLLOWS answers and what do they bring to the table?
From Edinburgh, UK, SHVLLOWS bring us “Zurich,” a synth-pop groove that is simultaneously upbeat and mellow. Smooth and entirely un-edgy, it glides and glimmers seamlessly from beginning to end. Full of glowing pink neon lights, it treads through the night on electric drum-kits. And, not to mention plenty of synthesizers are to be found throughout.
For what’s essentially a straight-forward, easily digestible tune, “Zurich” underplays its role as a pop song. There is no in-your-face hook, yet it still is catchy as can be. Just the same, around what seems to be the end, you find there’s still plenty of song left. It rides on in a way that seems endless and entrancing. To put it in a phrase, the song grows on you, especially considering how well it builds up to that slick 80s glam guitar. It all morphs together to sound like a blend of The 1975’s recent sense of whimsy and Disclosure’s forward-driven energy.
Does “Zurich” answer the illusive 80’s electro pop question? It’s hard to say. But what comes through clearly is that SHVLLOWS know how to captivate with synth-centric minimalism.