For a man who admits to an equal love for the rock antics of The Who and Led Zeppelin as much as the likes of Bowie and Japan, Fake News certainly leans more heavily towards the latter sound. But we live in a world where lines have thankfully blurred, musical tribalism is out of fashion and even genres have had their day. So why can’t a rock drummer also grab a keyboard and make 80’s infused synth-pop? Nothing sounds more healthy to me. And as the man himself says, “music isn’t just entertainment: it’s an important form of expression” and sometimes you need to find different ways of saying what you feel.
And so under the pseudonym Revelever he channels the sound of those early synth pioneers, those disenfranchised punks who ditched the guitars and turned the emerging keyboard technology to their will. But he also adds a modern polish to create a sort of future-retro sound that tips a hat to the past, looks to the future and sits perfectly in the present. And also like the music it references it has something to say and over its clinical and hypnotic sonic patterns it explores modern communication, the internet and how much you can really believe in what is put before you. The curse of progress.
Whilst this is the first track under the Revelever name to feature vocals, there is also a 4 track instrumental e.p. that you really need to check out. Any music not employing the direct communication that lyrics afford needs to use the music to set a scene, draw on the listeners emotions and talk through a sonic language and Spirits in Smoke does that to perfection. The title track is drifting and textured sitting somewhere between Japan’s sultry sound and Karda Estra’s mercurial soundtracks. It employs minimalism and atmospherics on The Driving Force of Nature, classical grace meets baroque pop on The Beauty of Innocence and the ghost of Roxy Music’s more balladic moments oozes through Sunshine.
Although more often found behind the drum kit, Revelever exposes its creator to be a well-rounded, genre-hopping, multi-instrumentalist as at home swathed in rock grandeur as he is making gorgeously atmospheric synth-pop. Fake News is poignant, direct and relevant and the music on Spirits in Smoke is beautiful, understated and rich. It would seem that there isn’t much that he can’t turn his hand to!