Potion – Circa EP

Circa EP

Circa is a short four-song EP released by the duo of Annie Maley and Michel Bedoya. Like the wistful, seaside pictures on the band’s new disc, the songs on Circa flow by, waxing and waning from fun and playful to cheesy and derivative. But then, the band’s style of synth-pop will always sound a bit cheesy to me, and it’s important to look beyond those preconceived notions. If only they didn’t put so much emphasis on those traditional waa-waa synth lines and canned beats and instead experiment with more sampling, more guitar, and more emphasis on vocals, these songs could be much better.
The title track starts out with a synth-pop beat and rhythm right out of 1984. But when Maley’s voice comes in, I get the strange sense of Stevie Nicks fronting New Order, and it’s a bit disconcerting. There are some nice sampled vocals in another language – French, perhaps – that provide an interesting break to the song, but the cheesy synths at the end are distracting. “Waves” is better primarily because of its emphasis on electronic beats over synth, and Maley’s voice works nicer here. The duo’s best song is the danceable “Lovelectronic,” which is more simple and lighter, and Maley’s voice is sweeter. Here, the duo shows their real promise, as they bring to mind a more synth-driven Ladytron. Unfortunately, “Cadence” sounds like a more synthy Siouxsie and the Banshees song, and that’s not really a good thing.
There are many people who enjoy electro-pop, and many bands are still playing the style today. To say it sounds like something left over from the 80s probably shows my limited knowledge of the style; that said, it does sound like it’s left over from the 80s fascination with synthesizers. Unfortunately, Potion relies too much on the synths for my taste. But these songs aren’t bad. They’re crisp and bouncy, if a tad repetitive.