Most of us know Laurence "Lol" Tolhurst as one of the founding members of The Cure, where he was responsible for co-writing some of the most memorable hits of the 80s before parting ways with the band. Now, while his former bandmates are experiencing a massive resurgence in popularity, Lol's making his own triumphant return with wife Cindy Levinson and multi-instrumentalist Dayton Borders in the appropriately named electro band Levinhurst.
Perfect Life, Levinhurst's debut, is largely a modernized throwback to classic 80s new wave/synthpop and the early 90s European dance scene. Immediately defined by Lol's penchant for simple yet catchy retro keyboard riffs and Cindy's angelic vocals, the band's music hangs on simplicity fleshed out by beautifully layered synth work and subtle atmospherics, all tied together by thumping electronic drums and a pulsing synth bass anchor. While the album is a bit short by today's standards, clocking in at just under 40 minutes (and, perhaps, accentuated by the fact that there are only 8 proper tracks, with the other 3 being short instrumental intros/interludes), it's a solid and fairly impressive 39+ minutes.
Overall, the sound of the album is consistent but somewhat diverse, at times falling into the straightforward club-oriented electro category while at other times hitting more laid back electronic-based new wave territory occasionally sporting swirling background atmospheres and even sitar accents reminiscent of The Cure's more psychedelic work. The short instrumental album opener "Vinti" wears a distinct mysterious eastern vibe wrapped around tribal drums, countered by the steady retro electronic drums and analog synth bass of "Let's Go", a very simple but infectious number that will likely take up residence in your head for quite some time. "Sorrow", the synth arpeggio-laden "Despair", and "Behind Me" are more upbeat club numbers driven by synth bass and dance-oriented electronic drums, while "Sadman" (which sports one of the album's most memorable choruses), "Hope", and the beautifully melodic standout "Lost" are more down-tempo moody electro-pop songs. The album is rounded out by the short intro/interlude tracks "Insomniac" and "Perfect Life" and the album closing "More/Mad", a more upbeat new wave pop song that slowly dissolves into moody ambience recalling the album's opener, giving the album something of a cyclical nature perfect for repeat play.
In the end, Perfect Life is a solid and quite exceptional debut effort that will likely please fans of both Lol's prolific new wave past and modern electro. Granted, it's probably not destined to outsell Lol's back catalogue, but it certainly has plenty of underground hit potential. A big slice of forward-thinking retro electro featuring a veteran artist whose highly influential body of work played a large part in the roots of today's electro, alternative, and throwback new wave scenes, Levinhurst's Perfect Life is an album that shouldn't be missed.
Levinhurst website: www.levinhurst.com
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