Listening to the music of Damien Lynch, AKA Sarsparilla, it’s a pretty quick mental (or aural) journey back to the 1980s where theme songs from M.A.S.K., Miami Vice, The Equalizer, Airwolf and the original TV show of V (which I was never allowed to watch) featured as the soundtrack to a most-certainly-not-forgotten era.
Given our current generations’ propensity to periodically bring the fashion, music and lingo of decades past into our 21st century lives – often with a knowing nod-and-wink – there’s an invigorating lack of irony to Sarsparilla’s work on Slave To The Cat Gang, his third album after Karahee and the web-released Day Rider.
On top of an appreciation for numerous TV shows and films of more than 20 years ago – John Carpenter being an obvious influence – Lynch also clearly loves the sounds, grooves, textures and vibe of classic ’80s synth music by artists like Vangelis and the Human League, as well as hip-hop of the same era.
Tracks like opener -Diamond Dagger’ and -Pop N Rock’ bring with their vintage synthesised sounds recollections of period US cop shows, where a freeze-frame and name-caption introduced us to the moustached/sideburned (often both) lawmen.
-Bring Them Then’ is real -bad-guy’ music – all marching beat and pummelling synthesised line with a dose of menace, while -Once When’ is full of -I Got My Mind Set On You’ beginnings that expand brilliantly, and with typically chunky analogue flavours, on what is quite a straightforward melody.
Slave To The Cat Gang even gives a slight tip of the hat to classic ’80s Jacko and with -Silver Horses’ it’s as if dark disco has never been away.
Years ago, this writer worked in a restaurant whose front window view included Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and, on the same street, was a club owned by sockless ’80s Miami Vice lothario, Don Johnson. One day he decided to close down the entire street to throw a massive private party for what must have been his 84th birthday (at least) and it’s likely that, were he to be throwing a similar bash in 2010, it’s to Sarsparilla he would turn to provide the vintage tunes.
Now, where did I put my auto-reverse walkman?