The Æffect – A Short Dream

The Æffect
A Short Dream

If new-wave, a late 70s to early 80s genre of mostly electronic-driven music that was somewhere between pop-rock and goth, should make a return to popularity as it appears to be trying to do, the Æffect have certainly released a small six-song resource for how to do it right. Following the lead that bands like The Faint have taken, there are more bands today beginning to embrace the style that early Depeche Mode, New Order, and even earlier Joy Division originated. Technology has taken us far past the point at which these bands first started to digitally experiment, but on A Short Dream, singer Aaron Feibus, keyboardist Steve Kramer, and drummer Brad Bulifant have backed off today’s available resources just enough to create something that sounds vintage new-wave.

“Oh You Didn’t Say” opens A Short Dream with pure electro-pop that resonates to that music hugely popular with UK teens when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister. Feibus, when not helping to run the indie record label Fueled by Ramen, has been working on the soft-spoken singing style that worked so well for Bernard Sumner, first in New Order and later in Electronic. Surprisingly simple and straightforward in “Oh You Didn’t Say,” I’d swear the foundation melody that sounded so poppy and electronic before is repeated in the short, but now stately, piano piece “The Third Level of Existence Pt. 1” that follows. The Æffect can also play into today’s preferred emotional lyric while restyling UK new wave romantic tendencies on “Insomnia” with its chorus, “I can’t hear you, I can’t feel you, I can’t sleep at all.” And if I didn’t know this was an original song, I would have thought for sure “Always Artificial” was indeed a New Order cover song. Strong bass lines and subtle synthesizer chords layered in between rhythmic blips and bleeps sound more analog and early digital technology than they do desktop software and this is a distinguishing positive feature for A Short Dream.

More likely than not though, the appeal for this debut EP release is Feibus and his unabashedly minimal, but pretty, singing as can be heard on “Of Truth” which, in this case, sounds like early Tears for Fears circa The Hurting. Ending A Short Dream, “The Third Level of Existence Pt. 2,” like its earlier counterpart, is an alternate piano piece that ends a surprisingly fresh indie release on an off note. Although I’m not quite ready for a return to skinny ties, mini-pins, eye shadow, and lipstick, The Æffect are making new wave sound refreshingly new again on A Short Dream.