Dark synthpop is one of the most overlooked genres of music within the contemporary music scene and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. In a musical landscape filled with overly joyous pop monstrosities and faux-moody love melodies, there is a real yearning for some truly dark and atmospheric electronica, something able to bring out the inner goth in all of us. This is where Miracle, a UK/US collaborative duo, step in to the mix, bringing with them for presentation their new album The Strife of Love in a Dream, an album which through its title alone manages to present itself as a moody bastard not to share a joke around.
Perhaps the best way to describe the unique and often haunting style of music created by Miracle is that it sounds the way that Blade Runner looks, but with The Smiths playing in the background. An obscure and bizarre description, I will be the first to admit, but allow yourself to be swallowed whole by “Night Sides” and you will immediately arrive at the same realization. The weight of “Night Sides” is immense, something which can be said for the entirety of The Strife of Love in a Dream, with every single track being so dense and tightly packed that when a song begins, you can practically feel yourself being weighed down.
Something of a triumph which Miracle have succeeded in delivering is the fact that whilst The Strife of Love in a Dream is dripping with darkness and mystery, with tinges of sadness hugging the edges of each song, the album itself is not one which acts to be completely devoid of hope or happiness. “Light Mind” is a fast-paced, 1980s-style groove-fest, and is by no means a cheery affair, but is one that you could, dare I say it, potentially dance along to? The track presents itself as sounding like New Order, but if they were in a huff. The dual vocals will chill you, the never-ending synth bass will move you, and the synth-laden guitar solo towards the end will simply blow you away.
At the heart of it, Miracle know that what they are producing goes directly against the norm in terms of modern music, and the reason for that could simply be that there needs to be a counter-culture. The music which inhabits The Strife of Love in a Dream is eerie, draws upon a wide array of influences, and refuses to conform to one particular style of play. Often times, such as within “The Seventeen Nineties”, there is a deliberate attempt made by Miracle to play in an atonal or otherwise anti-melodious way, a bold move which few bands are able to pull off without sounding like a heaped mess of melodies which are not compatible.
After five long years of silence, Miracle’s The Strife of Love in a Dream is a defiant return to form; as melodic and peaceful as it is fear-inducing and unhinged, the album fights any expectations by refusing to remain anchored to any single musical style throughout. As a fan of both modern and classic synth style albums, this has to be one of the greatest pieces I have ever heard. The fearless attitude found within this album is staggering; an unlikely protest to the music which inhabits our modern society. The Strife of Love in a Dream is nothing short of a masterpiece.
The Strife of Love in a Dream is out on February 16th and is available to buy on Amazon.