UK synth duo Magnetic Skies recently released their stunning debut EP, Dreams and Memories, featuring their modern blend of cutting-edge pop, electronic soundscapes and soaring melodies, with a nostalgic nod to the cinematic sounds of 80's alternative music. The duo has garnered significant attention since the EP release, having been described as echoes of Tears for Fears and Japan meeting the modern world of Chvrches and Empire of the Sun.
Magnetic Skies was formed in early 2018 when singer-songwriter Simon Kent and vocalist/programmer Jo Womar were commissioned to collaborate for a one-off arts/charity live show. During rehearsals, the pair discovered that they had a common love for electronic music and mapped out dates to experiment with writing songs for a potential band project. Simon’s latest solo album had received airplay on national radio, and live shows included touring with established artists like Echo & The Bunnymen, Emma Stevens and The Christians - but things went so well that he decided to take a hiatus to concentrate on the new project.
Simon says, “The Magnetic Skies songs took on a life and direction of their own, everything just flowed. Although I had a great band and backing at radio, sometimes you just have to follow your instinct and your heart. And this is where my heart wants me to go.”
Songwriting over the summer resulted in a selection of songs ranging from melody-driven electronic pop to atmospheric ambient songs which form the basis of 3 EP's the band will release in 2019, with a full-length album to follow. Jo remarks, “Writing the songs has been a really exciting adventure! I have a really cool collection of analogue and digital synthesizers, which are the foundation for the tracks. Simon can play a bit of everything, so he was able to contribute keys, guitars and bass to finish everything off.”
The EP's opening, title track ("Dreams and Memories") was the first song the duo wrote together – exploring nostalgia and nodding musically to Disintegration-era Cure. "Magnetic Skies" is the band’s newest track - a song about seizing life’s chances weaved around an inviting repeated sequencer line. My favorite track, the irresistibly hook-laden "I Am Your Friend," is all pulsating synths, while closing track “Believe In You” is a piano-led, electronic, intimate ambient soundscape. On a related note, head over to Bandcamp to hear another track from the duo, entitled "Hold On," that sounds a bit like an alternate (possibly early?) version of the current EP's title track.
Dreams and Memories was engineered by Rob Aubrey, admired for his work with Big Big Train, and mixed by the band with Phill Brown, legendary engineer for Talk Talk, Bob Marley and Zero 7. While Rob and Phill helped finesse the ambience, the big soaring melodies and inspirational, finely-tuned songs are all Magnetic Skies.