Do you miss the ‘80s? Is the synth-pop revival and Lady Gaga’s use of saxophone not enough for you? Rejoice, children of the ‘80s, for Memoryy has released their debut album, Electric City. It even sounds like an ‘80s title. If Memoryy’s sound is familiar, it might not be solely because of the old-timey influences; this band was formerly the equally ‘80s-lovin’ Kitten Berry Crunch. Though the late Kitten Berry Crunch’s webpage likens the band’s transformation to a phoenix rising from ashes, it seems more like a rebranding. Memoryy is to be taken more seriously than Kitten Berry Crunch. There is no cat playing drums and keyboard in Memoryy, there is no synchronized dancing or kitty cat face paint (watch KBC’s “When This Is Over” and Memoryy’s “Don’t Give Up” videos for comparison). I support this change; Memoryy is a great name that ties into the fact that they’ve got some 30-year-old influences.
This synth-pop/rock album brings back all kinds of ‘80s pop must-haves. There’s the synth and lots of saxophone, of course, but “Nostalgia” and “Open Your Heart” bring Afro-pop back. “Open Your Heart” actually starts off slow and decidedly modern compared to the rest of the album. It begins with ambient synth, a simple piano, building guitar, shimmery cymbals; aside from the background saxophone, there is little notice of what is to come. There are even a few guitar riffs. Then, like some roller coaster waiting until the last moment to reveal that you’re about to plunge into the drops and corkscrews of the ride, suddenly a saxophone starts up and the listener is plunged into Afro-pop. Surprise! You’re still in the ‘80s! You haven’t escaped from Electric City yet! “Don’t Give Up” has to be the most ’80s song of the bunch; the frantic beginning makes me feel like I’m in a race in Tron, the rest of the song could be used for an epic movie montage.
Though something so heavily-influenced by the 1980s could come off as a joke, it can be taken seriously in 2013. Again, if you’re familiar with Kitten Berry Crunch, you’ve seen how it becomes a joke. Not here; these are seriously catchy pop songs that can stand alone without the gimmick of sounding like they were made to play at an ‘80s-themed birthday party. “Someone Not You” reminds me of Cut Copy, though with fewer samples. As mentioned earlier, “Open Your Heart” starts off with a more current sound. The production is fantastic, and the crisp sound reminds you that this was not recorded on an 8-track.
The themes are pretty generic; they’re about relationships. There’s one for getting over someone by dating someone else in “Someone Not You,” there’s getting nostalgic over someone in “Nostalgia,” there’s begging a lover not to leave for someone else in “Don’t Give Up.” The lyrics aren’t groundbreaking, but they go well with the fun pop sound. If you enjoy dancing to ‘80s classics, you will enjoy this album. I might even tape it on a cassette so I can listen to it on my Walkman for authenticity.