Polymaths aren’t inherently better at their preferred forms of media…but honestly, when you start to think of modern multi-disciplinary creatives like Brandy, Donald Glover or Lucy Liu…it certainly seems like splitting interest into multiple fields can have a big payoff.
So let’s talk about Pennsylvania’s Liz Lehman. On top of being an accomplished queer activist and visual artist, Lehman lathes those passions and more together with their truly intriguing synth pop project The Scary Jokes. Less of an abrupt punch line and more of an ongoing engagement that haunts far beyond the final chord, The Scary Jokes enjoyed an auspicious three-record streak between 2014’s Bad At Math and 2019’s Burn Pygmalion!!!. As with the rest of the world, things slowed down when COVID began dominating headlines in 2020, but aside from their 2021 remix of 2016’s April Fools, The Scary Jokes are about to return with their first post-lockdown offering.
Championing vintage synth tones and an abundance of analog originality, Retinal Bloom is ten tracks of deep-eared dilations. Faithful to the full-length’s title, these tunes will expand your view of what synth pop really is, with sonic combos that sound like classic video game soundtracks were able to authentically encode Lehman’s supra-human voice, plus a bit of delightfully drab German New Wave. Retinal Bloom drops tomorrow and The Scary Jokes graciously let us open this Pandora’s Box of bizarrely-catchy confessions with its penultimate track “Demons of Accident”. Between its purposeful vibrato-pervading timbres and deliberate reverb-drenched vocals, “Demons of Accident” takes us to an underwater level from which we don’t want to surface.
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