Synthpop hasn’t really caught on in Pakistan. That 80’s throwback sound is yet to really permeate our shores, but you might hear it floating out under the door of MU’s bedroom. Sinister Heart is pure bubblegum synth pop, painted in bright primary colours, wearing it’s syntheticness like a badge. It’s an ecstatic summer jam, and one that needs to be blasted out of speakers to be really appreciated.
If there’s one song that really defined the year, that sunk it’s hooks into our collective brains, it would be the banger that is The Sibbi Song. The track is the definition of lightning in a bottle, mixing SomeWhatSuper’s uncanny ability at crafting contagious melodies and Abid Brohi’s infectious energy. It’s easily the anthem of the year, and has perhaps even ushered in a new age of electronic music in Pakistan.
Confidence is a weird thing to highlight in a track, but it’s one of the things that struck me about Gehri Neend. There’s a sense that Sikandar Ka Mandar knows exactly what they are doing and that you’re in safe hands. The lyrics are abstract and absurd, but Nadir Shahzad sings them with absolute sureness. When the chorus repeats 4(!) times midway through the song, there’s a moment of confusion, like you might be stuck in a time loop. But then the change-up happens and you realise you’ve been lured into the trap. It’s a brilliantly produced bit of music.
Smax’s standout track ‘Frank’ from his album ‘Tome’ is like sinking into a bed of static noise. Everything here is incredibly textured and layered and seems scrutinised under a microscope. Occasionally this can come off as impersonal, but in the case of ‘Frank’, it lures you deeper, wrapping you in a thick fog of sound. Smax’s production style certainly isn’t for everyone, but there’s something oddly beautiful about his glitchy, fragmented, underwater electronica that is hypnotising to listen to.
`Perhaps stretching the ‘alternative’ tag here, but this is such a good pop song that it’s worth stretching. Zeb Bangash and Haroon Shahid’s voices play off each other perfectly and the composition by Shoaib Mansoor bounces and sparkles in exactly the way a rose-tinted pop song should. A must on every summer playlist.