Once Around Saturn is new artist out of Sydney, Australia whose style is part of a new breed of indie electronica along the lines of Washed Out or M83. His new EP, These Promises, released on June 29 and also has quite a retro 80s flare, so think Washed Out merged with Cyndi Lauper. The lead single, “Fortress of Love” featuring Amanda Easton is one of the best examples on the album of this indie pop/retro EDM fusion.
“Fortress of Love” opens with a melodic and shoegazey synth which carries the whole song. Along with the beat, this synth provides the bedrock for Amanda Easton’s bell-like and very 80s vocals. It’s funny that this vocalist’s last name is Easton, because her voice sounds quite similar to the iconic 80s new wave pop star, Sheena Easton (they are not related). In fact, the addition of Easton’s vocals takes “Fortress of Love” to a whole new level of retro, and listeners could not be blamed for thinking this song was straight out of a movie like Tron or Howard the Duck.
While “Fortress of Love” is indeed quite retro, the arrangement and the production style that makes the track modern, as well as the shoegazey quality of the synths. The clarity Once Around Saturn, given name Dan Kelso coaxes out of his production just couldn’t be achieved in the 80s.
“Fortress of Love” and indeed all of These Promises are solid and modern despite all of the retro touches, which extend down to the styling of the album cover. It’s clear Kelso has an affinity for all things 80s, but he doesn’t go too crazy with it and he can definitely be appreciated for covering the spread between the 80s and modern electronica. These Promises is available now on Once Around Saturn’s Bandcamp page.