I’ve mentioned Scandroid, as well as Klayton’s other projects here on numerous occasions, as I’ve been lucky enough to have regular submissions from his record label FiXT, but while I very much enjoyed his most recent retro-pop endeavours, I haven’t showcased the label in some time now…but that’s about to change. Let me introduce you to 3FORCE. 3Force are an electronic/retrowave trio from St. Petersburg, Russia, and are one of a growing number of artists on the FiXT / FiXT Neon roster. Consisting of members Dmitry Gancher, Aleksey Ruin and Andrey Eyescream, they recently released their latest collection of tracks via the new album “Divide & Collide”. I’m just glad their name is in English…because fuck trying to pronounce три силы! Let’s check them out.
The album opens up with “Shape Shifter” and given the genre I’m immediately envisioning were-folk throwing down absurd shapes on a blinding neon dance floor, a la An American Werewolf In Paris. I digress; the track itself is a purely instrumental one…initially a slow starter, it gradually builds atmospheric synths not unlike the Stranger Things title screen, but soon comes to life; rich in pulsing electronica and regimented percussion…the 80’s aesthetic oozes from each and every keyboard note. A fine piece of music but no more than a glorified intro track ultimately…not that it stops Lycans shaking booty though.
Next up we have the first of the albums collaborations and it comes courtesy of Robin Adams on the track “Uprising”. The UK-based musician/vocalist provides a slightly rockier vibe to an otherwise GLITCH MOB sounding piece of electro/alt.-pop, but it works very well. It houses certain funk elements in places and the former CELLDWELLER collaborator allows the track to explore a plethora of avenues. Robin shows up again on “Guardian Angel” but here, musically at least it’s not as intense, his grating vocals giving the more subdued track its character. Fellow FiXT label-mates RAIZER join proceedings on the track “Lost & Found” and we’re given a lighter, more melodic mix, allowing for a more pop-based retro style…while Scandroid themselves get in on the action on the track “Abyss”. As distinct as the resulting sound is, and as enjoyable as it is…it suffers with a pretty repetitive and unimaginative chorus that brings an otherwise enjoyable track down.
Surprisingly though, a lot of the albums highlights do come courtesy of instrumental offerings which speaks volumes of the quality of sound 3Force have managed to recapture. “Future Frame” in particular perfectly bridging that gap between throwback techno and modern dance-pop, it’s like something Creamfields would belt out at 2am to a throng of ketamine fuelled cretins…in a good way, while “Outcome Theory”, “Insect” and later on “Celestial Squad” reinforce the strength of the album as a whole. A lot of artists have been capitalising on this retro trend in recent years, riding a wave of nostalgia celebrating that throwback, 80’s aesthetic, and 3Force are no different, but they manage to retain a crisp, fresh sound as opposed to sounding recycled. That said FiXT have a solid track record with cherry picking quality electronic artists, and these Russians bolster an already impressive roster on the back of this album, which has more killer hooks than Ivan Drago. A recommended listen comrade…