With a genre like “dream pop,” you can’t expect anything less than a pink-and-blue California synthscape, and Satchmode delivers. LA duo Gabe Donnay and Adam Boukis have experimented with a variety of moods and settled on a beat-heavy, flourescent sound. My first encounter with the band was “Further Away,” a single released last November. From the first bass line, all I could say was damn.
Although they trend towards optimistic, upbeat pop, it’s the pair’s lyrics that make their tunes so stunning. Neon synth weaves in and out of wistful lines: Girl, do I even know you anymore? / So much time has passed / Girl, could you even love me anymore? / I’m afraid to ask. In “Hall & Oates,” the chorus hums: Were we even happy then? / It’s darker than it seems / I want to be in love again / with you, I want to be in love.
Their most recent single “Undertow” dropped only a few days ago. It’s a dramatic departure from their prior sound, but it’s a risk well-worth listening to. Metallic vocals sit atop an eighties guitar line, and the bass grooves with a jungle beat. The Burning Ear likened it to the heated “eventual comedown” of a dance party, and I’m inclined to agree. It’s a jaguar of a tune. This track is deeply sexy, and I’d bet money it’ll remix in clubs this summer.
The duo’s put out two EPs—Collide (2014) and Afterglow (2015)—and the release of two singles this year bodes well for an album in our future. Until then, plug in and groove on with Satchmode at the wheel. It’s gonna be a dreamy ride.