The New Aristocrats – Review

New AristocratsI have learned a lot from The New Aristocrats. Mainly, I did not know 80’s freestyle dance-pop was a thing. After a few google searches, however, I discovered that it really is a thing. Where have I been since the 80’s? I guess in the 90’s. And then the 2000’s.

But anyway, apparently there is a whole big movement of people who wished we still used a can of Aquanet in our hair everyday and wore a lot of pink. And that’s the first thing I think The New Aristocrats have going for them: they have found their micro-niche, their very specific sub-genre.

This is crucial in this new age of music marketing. It is really hard to define your own sound and find your specific audience. They seem to know exactly who their audience is and they are giving them exactly what they want. Listening to their music really is like stepping back in time. They really nail the 1980’s sound, vocal phrasing and lyrical sensibility.

This for sure harks back to the days of Madonna, Sheila E, Bananarama and Stacy Q. Matter of fact, a lot of their songs make me want to pop in the Karate Kid and sing along to Cruel Summer. Like their song “I’ve Been Watching You.” It is classic Bananarama. They really do well recreating the 80’s sound and all the nostalgia that goes along with it. I felt myself reaching down to french-roll my jeans as soon as I hit play.

The New Aristocrats

The band hails from West Hollywood, California. No surprise given their flare for the dramatic. Consisting of Crown Prince, Duchess, Marquise and Countess (something tells me those aren’t their birth names), the group also has their own fashion sense which is yet another thing they have going for them.

They have a very defined Renaissance/baroque-era meets burlesque fashion style that they call New Aristocrats. It’s really pretty genius. You can tell they have worked hard on defining their image and it works. Somehow their 80’s sound goes very well with their masquerade-ball type dress. Another thing that really harks back to the 1980’s.

Their costumes really remind me of the movie Amadeus which gave us a classic 80’s tune by Falco. They seem to have really thought all this stuff through and allow us to connect the dots as we listen. These guys and gals must have studied music marketing.

Production-wise, they use all the right sounds. One of them must have kept a Yamaha DX-7 hidden in their basement for years and finally are getting a chance to use it again. The songs have all the classic drum sounds, claps, and synth sounds we all remember so well. I think I even heard the orchestra hit in there somewhere. The vocals are pretty well done with lots of counter melody and harmony in that 80’s style. There are a few moments here and there where the vocals seem a little too out front in the mix, but otherwise pretty good.

Their live performances tend to get a little pitchy in the vocals, but all the eye candy and choreography help take away the focus from a few bad notes. When you put on the New Aristocrats music, if you didn’t know any better, you would think you were listening to an 80’s compilation. And I think they would take that as a compliment. They are doing a lot of things right and anyone who is not ready to kiss the 80’s goodbye, needs to spend some time with this band. The 80’s are apparently alive and well.

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