More often than not, there is that one track on a Beyoncé or Timberlake record which takes a full diversion into nostalgic 80’s Prince-esque joy. Beyoncé’s single “Love On Top” and Timberlake’s “End of Time” totally embrace the rubbery analogue drum machines, airy synths and, arguably over the top backing vocals that typify the classic era. On their debut EP “Mirage”, Scarlet Pleasure take up permanent residence in this sonic niche.
Dark tints, neon lit cocktail bars, palm trees and plastic flamingos: All are image hallmarks of what “Mirage” is about. The trio are absolutely on point conveying these themes musically. Lead vocalist Emil Goll dances around the musical scale desperate to show the opposite sex his worth. His voice silkily leads a funky, not-afraid-to-be-slapped bass, and punctuated vintage poly synthesisers through seven glossy 80’s funk pop tracks. Their sound is wholly realised, and singles “Windy” and “Under The Palm Trees” showcase both their musicality and breezy charm.
Lyrically, words match the music. This is both a blessing and a curse. Though these tunes hark back to an era where women swooned over slicked back hair and wrap around shades (not long ago actually), there is no need to refer to your past or potential lover as a “bitch”. The word stings in a contemporary musical environment, and does not have a place within a nurturing, equal, community. That aside, it is singer Goll’s mint fresh delivery which makes the content work. He manages to dull such lyrical impact though his sweet croon, switching effortlessly between yelping belts and smooth falsettos.
At times, the EP verges on parody. It isn’t hard to imagine Scarlet Pleasure covering Saturday Night Live, white-boy-soul track “Dick in a Box” without batting an eyelid. But, this is where SP succeed. They are dedicated to their sound in such a way they have gone beyond parody. On “Mirage”, they are too good to be caricature. Its expert production would convince the band themselves that they hark from 80’s era popland. SP have skipped the parody and jumped to the essence of what made this style of music popular in the first place.
Through its commitment to style, classic melodies and earnest delivery, “Mirage”‘s minor missteps can be forgiven. Plus, they wear turtlenecks.