New music came out this week in the form of a self-titled album from Ireland’s Sacred Ape. This one has been on near constant repeat since I got my hands on it (you can get your hands on it over at Bandcamp right now!). It’s a perfect blend of synthpop, synthwave, and new wave…all things that I know and love. It’s a true combination of the 1980’s and the present, without settling heavily in either camp. It’s a balancing act that Sacred Ape has not only pulled off, they’ve done it near perfectly.
Horn opens up the record, an upbeat number with layers on top of layers of sound. It’s a great exploration of how to fill a space with sounds that cooperate with each other. Every chord, every drum beat, and every synth key works in unison. Aleep at the Wheel (Part I) kicks in and you hear darkwave synths churning up the depths. Then something happens…vocals. I’m a big fan of vocals over my synths and Sacred Ape is one talented musician. His voice soars over this dark landscape and adds a level of richness that sets it apart from almost everything I’ve covered so far this year. Birds Fall From the Sky kicks in with staccato synths followed by one amazing bass line. This song has “hit” written all over it. The vocals are silky smooth and pull the track together into a body moving, sing along anthem. Definitely one of the top tracks of the year. I Want To Go Back To The Happy House is fun, upbeat, and atmospheric track. I love the higher synth layered with the deep, deep bass. They compliment each other well, combined with all of the other elements in the song it carries itself well with the brilliance of what we’ve already heard. Season of the Damned is a ballad that is home to more great vocals from Sacred Ape. The vocals here are harmonized, with great falsetto highs during the chorus. Walking on Ice is my favorite song on the album. The vocals soar to new levels while dark and brooding synths ground the song. It’s a synth-masterpiece and will be on pretty much every playlist I make going forward. Asleep at the Wheel (Part II) closes the album with an acoustic piano outro. Echoing vocals keep pace with the sorrowful piano work. It’s an amazing closer to an amazing album. Once it really kicks into overdrive to finish things out, it gives me shivers!
Sacred Ape has done something that doesn’t happen very often. I’m typing this completely floored by the content I just reviewed. I’ve listened to the album close to a dozen times since Friday and I’m still hearing new and exciting harmonies. Sacred Ape has not just released on of my favorite albums of 2017, this is going to be an album I revisit for years and years to come. If you don’t own this yet, stop reading right now and head over to Bandcamp now. This is MUST OWN material.