Synthpop band Future Perfect release their début album “Dirty Little Secrets” this week. I was lucky enough to hear an advance copy and am pleased to say that it’s everything I’d hoped for: a classic album packed full of catchy tunes backed up by one the best vocalists in synthpop today.
Future Perfect are Welsh synthesiser duo Simon Owen and Rebecca Morgan. They have been working together since early 2009 and came to my attention when I saw their impressive video for lead single “Hunter” last year. I thought Hunter was a fantastic tune, but I wondered whether it was a one-off. It was certainly synthpop, but sounded like it could easily take the band into any number of directions. I needn’t have worried.
Dirty Little Secrets was written and recorded over the past year, and Simon says “most of the instrumentation was done in my garden shed converted into a studio using Apple Garageband.” Various “real” synthesizers were used to help create that authentic electropop sound: an EMU Emulator II sampler, Yamaha CS15 analogue, and Roland JP800 for example.
The album of eleven songs kicks off with “Poisoned Love,” a song that instantly introduces Rebecca as a voice to be reckoned with. With its train-journey rhythm and ending with some spoken lyrics like a Client song, this opener soon gives way to the fabulous “Hunter.”
Hunter demonstrates what Future Perfect excel at throughout the album: slow-building verses and killer-catchy choruses, multi-layered instruments and soaring vocals. You come away from this song thinking that surely it must have been a massive hit in the 80s for Berlin or some such band.
“Queen of the Dancefloor” is slow and thoughtful, matching Northern Kind for synthpop sensibilities. “Confessions” is also a slower number and features another wonderful vocal performance. It’s so refreshing to hear singers who haven’t been given the generic Auto Tune sound – Rebecca’s vocal range is given the scope it deserves again and again on this album and this is one thing that makes Dirty Little Secrets a little bit special.
“Did You Find Sanctuary?” picks up the pace, with its inspiration from Sci-Fi classic Logan’s Run and the line that names the band. “Not In Control” is another highlight – very Yazoo – and it begins a shift for the album into a slightly darker direction. “Solitary Star” adds some VNV Nation style futurepop to the mix and makes me think that Future Perfect could go down a storm at somewhere like the Infest festival.
“Dark Pleasures” is the only track on the album I’d probably end up skipping. It’s OK but doesn’t really go anywhere. Fortunately though it leads on to the best two songs on the album.
“Second Skin” really kicks off about halfway in with a whirling, swirling chorus that makes me itch to turn up the volume and sing-a-long. It sweeps away the earlier uncertainty with a bold optimism, and the retro orchestra stabs shouldn’t really work but they do.
Finally the gorgeous, beautiful “Discover Me” closes the album. This song is truly inspirational: I think it’s the album’s pièce de résistance, even though Simon claims it’s “a bonus track and not really typical of our sound.” It was written for a single release on behalf of beat, the UK charity for people with eating disorders and is the perfect way to end the album.
Hunter, Confessions, Not In Control, Second Skin, Discover Me
- Buy “Dirty Little Secrets” on iTunes (£7.99)
- “Dirty Little Secrets” will be also available this week on Amazon and Spotify
Disclaimer: I received a free advance copy of this album for review. Artwork and images copyright Future Perfect 2010.