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By John Norris @jonnynono
And you thought indie pop's fixation on Eighties synth pop was on the wane? You silly, silly music fan. As a matter of fact not only has Kurt Feldman--who'd already earned plenty of association with the sound of that decade thanks to his roles as front man of the now-defunct shogaze pop outfit Depreciation Guild and drummer for the C86-invoking Pains of Being Pure at Heart--returned to the Eighties, you might say he's doubled down, with his third act in six years, Ice Choir.
Sumptuous synths, honey like vocals, and dewy lyrics abound on the band's debut Afar -- the likes of which we haven't heard since the era of Thatcher, Smash Hits, Live Aid and early MTV. Brits and Anglophiles from that time will hear New Romantic dandyism of Spandau Ballet, Visage and Japan in Ice Choir, and see it in their haircuts. And from the opening strains of "I Want You Now and Always", Feldman's voice has never sounded better, his tenor even recalling those great pop Georges, Michael and O'Dowd.
But there's more to Ice Choir's aesthetic than just New Wave revivalism, including lyrics informed by the great English romantic poet John Keats, and themes relating--as the title suggests--to distance, and to self-imposed isolation. We talk about it all this week in Face Time, in a conversation shot at Brooklyn's Soft Spot, not far from the Winter Station studio where he made the record.
You'll also hear about the guys who round out the Ice Choir lineup, Patrick South, Raphael Radna and Avery Brooks; the sublime guest appearance made by Chairlift's Caroline Polachek on the Disney-like (and Keats-inspired) closing duet "Everything Is Spoilt By Use"; and you'll see the video for the album's "Two Rings", directed by Ryan Louie and which in its own retro-green screen way, also takes you back in time.
A debut that manages to be an homage to the past while still feeling fresh and modern is our focus this week, as we bring you music and conversation from Kurt Feldman, of Brooklyn's Ice Choir.