Sublime synth-pop ‘Comes in Waves’ for Total Giovanni
Almost every week now I’m writing about a new retro-tinged synth-pop song, and to be honest I couldn’t be more psyched. There’s something about catchy bloops and bleeps and drum machines that really churns my butter, and that’s exactly what’s on the menu with TOTAL GIOVANNI‘s latest cut, ‘Comes in Waves’.
Total Giovanni quickly established themselves in 2013 as one of those acts you’ve got to see live to truly experience. A quintet of different backgrounds, the group merges nostalgic elements with modern pop and notes of electronica and dance, creating a vibe that’s as dark as it is groovy. This was captured nicely in their previous single, ‘Your Light’, from last year, a tight mix of electro-funk in a synth-pop package. ‘Comes in Waves’ packs a foreboding yet momentous energy, captured perfectly in the accompanying video directed by Vachel Spirason.
A synth soundscape quickly morphs into a disco-like groove before soulful vocals layer over the top. As the song builds, the synths get more melancholy, contrasting nicely with the groovy bassline and energetic beats. The lyrics deal with awareness that, as the titles suggest, come in waves: different realisations dawning upon the narrator in sections that are sonically unique from each other. The track lacks a traditional chorus but instead has instrumental breaks that increase in intensity, ending with crashing percussion and a siren-esque synth. ‘Comes in Waves’ is Total Giovanni sounding more nuanced, yet still packing that one-two punch of grooviness in the darkness.
The video, directed by singer Vachel Spirason, nicely matches the minimalism of the track while enhancing the build up of manic energy. Vachel and fellow member Julian Rawendra dance in grayscale against a plain white backdrop along to the track, and as it builds, the dancers are joined by ‘shadows’ represented by figures dressed in white, their dancing matching the intensity of the music. Spirason has described the song as dealing with “the feeling of being outside yourself,” which is neatly evoked with these dreamlike figures who multiply and become more unhinged as the song builds.
Total Giovanni have always been known for their experimentation within their minimal sound, and ‘Comes in Waves’ is the best realisation of their style yet. It mixes their poppy and groovy style with a heavy dose of realness and strikes a perfect balance while doing it – all while being the perfect track to tap your toes to. The quintet are also supporting Client Liason on their ‘Expo Liason’ tour – for your chance to catch these two pop powerhouses in action check out all the details below!
Expo Liaison Festival Tour
Sat 18th August – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Sat 19th August – Claremont Oval, Perth
Sat 25th August – Parramatta Park, Sydney
Sun 26th August – Victoria Park, Brisbane
IMAGE: JASMINE FISHER
WORDS BY MAX LEWIS