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Antsy (Iceland) – Song 4 (sample track from debut album, Disappearer)

Antsy is reallement francais, domiciled for eight years in Reykjavik, and makes synth pop. That immediately prompted me to think of M83 (Anthony Gonzalez) and there are similarities in their work; that all-embracing synth sound that Gonzalez makes.

But not entirely. Antsy never neglects to look on the dark side of life, and the sample track I selected from his recently released debut album ‘Disappearer’ highlights (or lowlights, or black lights, depending on how you look at it) the dichotomy between light and dark, hope and despair.

The choice, the straightforwardly titled ‘Song 4’, was an easy one to make because Antsy suggests it himself in his press release, pointing to how it lies at the heart of his album.

Hung on slow, melancholic and what sounds like reversed analogue synth pieces that contrast with full-blown, upbeat and more joyful synth sections that accompany the mantra “it’s gonna be alright” (we know it isn’t), the story vaguely suggests the return of a prodigal son who returns too late to play a part in a fundamental piece of family history. Perhaps the album title adds some credibility to that theory.

It’s powerful stuff, the sort of thing you might imagine being played behind a funeral oration.

He describes the entire album as “wobbling constantly between hope and melancholy”.

While there is a distinct ‘Antsy sound’ throughout there is equally variety between each of the tracks.

‘Colours & Shapes’ has the imprint of Erasure, while ‘Cosmic Love’ charmingly channels ‘Together in Electric Dreams’. Gary Numan might have had fun with ‘So Long’, while ‘Summer Longing’ has a quaint 60s feel to it even if synthesisers weren’t part of the scene then.

The instrumental final track ‘Cheer up it’s all over’ resounds with the emblematic title and mark of a gentler Carter USM, and in its own little way is equally authoritative as some of the South London duo’s work.

‘Disappearer’ was written, produced and recorded by Antsy in Reykjavik, mixed by Edgar Möller in Berlin, and mastered by Joe Lambert in New York.

While this isn’t a full album review I’ll award a rating anyway, of 7/10. That’s about the highest I give for any debut album and Antsy is still very much on the bottom rung of his journey. There’s plenty here though that suggests it will be an interesting and fruitful one.

 ‘Disappearer’ is out on all streaming platforms.

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