Nashville, TN duo Future Unlimited thrive in their ’80s fetishism in a way that few others do. The homage just sounds so natural, so right. The flashing synths, insistent drum machine, and dance floor grooves draw comparisons to Cut Copy, but the biggest link between the two bands is the ease with which they reproduce the feel of a different time. Some bands are influenced by genres or eras, and Future Unlimited is one that instead seems possessed.
Dropping this album into the hands of one of the characters in The Breakfast Club probably wouldn’t throw off the music continuum. Opening track “When It Calls” rides in on a twinkly synth wave, but the real hook is that chunky bass line that sounds like it came straight out of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. The heavily reverbed toms and light handclaps that power “Into The Sun” act as the perfect counterpoint to the bleary guitar picking and harmonies. When Samuel D’Amelio and Dave Miller sing out lines like, “Out of the rain/into the sun/we can run/one by one,” it’s with that hopeful escapism that worked so well in the great melodies of the ’80s.
The five songs on the Future Unlimited EP have a massive scope, aiming for big themes and tones that wind up busting even at those far-flung seams. “Easy Ways” opens in epic, lock-step bursts of distorted feedback, but even something this abrasive can be reeled into an ephemeral, sugary ’80s pop world by musicians this focused. The darkwave bass and angelic synths that propel the rest of the song intermittently get bashed at by that feedback, but the cool intensity of the vocals cannot be disturbed. “You’ve got to let go of the easy ways,” they intone, leading to a cathartic mass of howling guitar. Throwback rarely feels this genuine, a real accomplishment amongst so much nostalgia.
Essential Tracks: “When It Calls”, “Easy Ways”