Fast Arrow are the Seattle synthpop duo of Lesley Braden and Brendan Mills-McCabe. The two met while enrolled at a local community college’s audio engineering program. The six songs that make up their debut EP, Alibi, are the result of a shared obsession with pop music history, audio technology, and production techniques.
Good songwriting and Braden’s strong vocals anchor the songs on Alibi, and catchy melodies with lush harmonies place many of the songs in pop-friendly territory. The tracks are danceable, with traces of darkness and mystery. Electronic and acoustic drums, guitars, and analog synthesizers are layered into the EP’s instrumentation.
Drawing from a broad set of influences from Kraftwerk to Michael Jackson, Fast Arrow’s sound ends up settling mostly in the realm of bands such as the Cars, Hot Chip, Air, and early Duran Duran. The first track on the EP, “Ranks of Love,” tells a tale of the power struggle in a doomed love affair. The song builds up from a sparse intro of synth bass and minimal drums into a gritty tension of angular distorted guitars. The title track, “Alibi,” sets a spooky tone of the crimes of love and society with eerie synth melodies, hi-hat accents, and bass guitar flourishes. Other tracks on the album range from the danceable “Sound of Thunder,” to the melancholy “Own Way of Dying.”
Performed, engineered, and produced by Fast Arrow, Alibi is a labor of love and the attention to detail is apparent. The sound will perk up your ears and the songs will stay with you.