A short-lived electronic drum fill gives way to layered colourful synths in the first seconds of Canberra duo Neko Pink’s EP Love Capital. A fitting introduction to 20 minutes-or-so of bright, but gothic synth pop. The first song Black Mountain Drive, is sprawling with themes of young love and escapism as Neko Pink’s vocalist Africa Mylchreest sings, “Maybe we could go, sick of Canberra cold, maybe we could go”. This, along with the vivid synth-lead production produces a sense of innocent and naive optimism, where reality takes back seat to a love story.
This is where Neko Pink achieve their first big win, and one that is consistent through the EP. Their sound is already polished to a point where the themes and feelings in each song are made immediately clear. If there ever was an award for music that takes listeners to a place or an emotion, Neko Pink would own it.
Two tracks from Love Capital are clear standouts. No Thorns, the previously released single from this EP, is a powerful and danceable pop anthem. Angus McAndrew, the man behind the music, employs smart techniques to ensure that the synth-pop doesn’t become too jarring. By way of adding smooth and subtle guitar licks, Neko Pink’s sound doesn’t rely too heavily on the use of 80’s inspired sounds. As a result, their gothic synth-pop style won’t tire listeners.
Another standout, is Loop. Loop instantly captures the ear with McAndrew’s usage of dreamy and sugary synths and a soft bass line. A match made in heaven is created when Mylchreest begins the chorus, a catchy and memorable hook about how drugs and alcohol affect someone’s longing for love. Mylchreest brings out her inner Lily Allen here, singing on top of McAndrew’s heavily layered production. This culminates in that sweet and dreamy synth pop sound Neko Pink have constructed. Also, with McAndrew’s use of simple, electronic drum machine-esque patterns, these songs are given a driving force behind them, a backbone that keeps the beat moving forward. With small and unassuming drum fills, McAndrew also makes sure to keep it interesting.
There are moments in this EP in which the gap between the production and the vocals is broken completely. One such example is when Mylchreest yells “Ha!”, in Black Mountain Drive. Small moments like these in Neko Pink’s music make it seem more cohesive, and more of this certainly wouldn’t hurt their brand of music.
Their freshman EP, Love Capital is essentially 5 well crafted love songs that pay homage to the city in which they were made, as well as referencing addiction and drug use. Mylchreest easily holds her own in a strong performance over McAndrew’s production skills. In this, the duo have found, and fully formed their own sound. From here, Canberra and the rest of the world alike are extremely excited to see what’s next for Neko Pink.
After their EP release, the duo is set to support North East Party House on the 20thJuly at MOLO Bar at ANU, and Triple J Unearthed winner Japanese Wallpaper at UC open day on the 25th of August.
Written By Xavier Pearson