Tesla Boy - Modern Thrills (Mullet)

Russian 80's synths make us need to change our pants after one heck of a hot session.

Released Jun 29th, 2010 via Mullet / By Alastair Ballentyne
Tesla Boy - Modern Thrills (Mullet) Apparently the hottest band to come out of Russia since ever, well I’ve had to take my t-shirt off after listening to their debut album Modern Thrills, as I am kinda hot myself… It reminds me of when I first heard Digitalism, except this time I made more of a mess in my pants.

This album is so much fun, a kind of Muscovite bastardised take on mega drive music, ultra electro and relentless four to the floor beats. I was born in the ‘80s and I think that the ‘80s renaissance that has dominated popular music for the past few years is a pain unmentionables but that’s not the case here. Modern Thrills is great as the band takes influence and moves forward putting these ideas in a current and more relevant context that doesn’t lose any retro feel.

‘Electric Lady’ rolls along like something out of Miami Vice, pass me the neon face paint would you… It’s mixed up nicely with little synth sweeps and some great sounds. There’s a cool sensibility to this track (and the album) that really puts to shame what guys like Calvin Harris have been up to.

‘Synthetic Prince’ has a sense of urgency but is a lot of fun with a retro computer game vibe to it (which is a fine thing in my book!) It’s back to mid 80’s Miami with ‘Rebecca’ and it’d make good work out montage music that’s for sure. But then most dark electronic ballads do! ‘Synchronizing’ is a great adventure in crude synth sounds and simple but effective melodies. A lot of bands couldn’t pull this kind of tune off without sounding like some throwbacks in a shed reliving the glory days, it works well sonically but may be a touch too long.

‘Minsk-2’ menacing waveforms, seemed a slight nod to Bowie’s Berlin albums before busting into some ‘Sonic 2, Casino Night’ cheez-tastic groove then it settles into an almost menacing repeated verse, madness! I can’t describe it any other way! It was a definite high point of the album for me. It’s impossible not to smile with this track.

‘Fire’ didn’t really do much for me and ‘Make Believe Ballroom’ sounded like an intro to a track that never happened. ‘Thinking Of You’ was an interesting one with lots of cool stuff happening over the place but due to the nature of the band’s music this one felt a bit of a stretch at seven minutes, there wasn’t really anything that justified the length for me. ‘Speed of Light’ was a good choice to close the album with as it has the feel of a final track and a definite resolution to some of the tension in the earlier songs.

There’s something interesting about Tesla Boy, there are a lot of bands out there chasing the ghost of the ‘80s who should really just give up and go work in a bank or something, but every so often someone comes along and does it really well. If you are a fan of your ‘80s synth based songs then this is the band for you, the only downside is they don’t seem to be coming to our shores any time soon, sort it out lads!