Much has been made of Betamaxx’s triumphant return after a self-imposed hiatus. The artist’s foundational contributions to the then-nascent synthwave scene are some of the more legendary pillars of the genre.
But at some point, objective evaluation must come into play when analyzing any individual work of art. The listener must stare directly into the abyss and see what gazes back. I’m pleased to report that “Archaic Science” stands competently on its own as yet another outstanding album from Pittsburgh’s finest.
The name of the game with this album is variety. The changing dynamics go a long way toward keeping the listener interested and wanting more. You’ve got fine examples of deliberate synthpop songcraft, lush soundscapes suitable for enhancing creative focus, energetic soundtrack tunes perfect for night driving, and everything in between.
Variety of instrumentation is evident as well. Betamaxx reaches out in many different directions and ties everything together masterfully. A less skillful artist might collapse under the weight of juggling so many sounds, but not our boy. And I’m calling it now, the guest appearance by Hayley Stewart on “Something Else” is undoubtedly the sexiest synthwave vocal of the year.
It’s great to see yet another polished release from Rosso Corsa Records, keeping a proud winning streak going and letting fans make no-brainer decisions about purchases. In a time when we hear so much about what certain actors in the synthwave scene are doing wrong, both Betamaxx and Rosso Corsa remain gleaming beacons of excellence.