OLLIE WRIDE – Thanks In Advance (2019)
“Thanks In Advance” is the title of the solo debut album by Los Angeles based Englishman OLLIE WRIDE, vocalist and co-writer for FM-84, one of the most promising acts from the synthwave genre. Of course, this is a pure ’80s inspired collection of songs, however not exactly synthwave but rock& pop / Lite AOR tunes with real instruments (including guitar solos) and ‘that kind’ of production sound
“Thanks In Advance” is exactly what you expect from a synthwave new retro wave album, but with a plus, a big plus. Real instruments makes this more organic, and Ollie’s distinctive and soaring vocals are top notch, something not so common in the synthwave genre.
Listening to the first two tracks, both could of been pulled from the movie soundtrack of pretty much any film of 1984. There are certainly flashes of Fleetwood Mac’s synth assisted ‘Tango In The Night’ album within opener ‘Never Live Without You’, a number fashioned with a fine balance of synths, guitars and MTV friendly, while rhythmically swung, track 2 ‘Overcome’ is rocky with Lite AOR touches and some 1986 ‘Canadian feel’ on it.
Meanwhile the muted guitar and sparking synthlines of ‘Back To Life’ offer sunny soulful rock&pop, with Wride’s voice superbly anthemic and likely to induce swooning. Plus there’s even an unexpected key change and sax thrown in! A perfect song to accompany any blistering hot day at the beach, ghetto blaster cranked high and sipping Coca Cola from a massive ice bucket.
‘The Rising Tide’ offers a colourful ballad in the vein of Tom Lord-Alge’s productions with the threat of MISTER MISTER looming. A sweet, effortless cool and calm tune, reminiscent of those tender love scenes that had to come during any ’80s teen flick.
‘Miracle Mile’ brings the pace back up, the pulsing triplet providing the backbone to a wonderful open top driving number. The imagery conjured may be a cliché but the fact that the song produces pictures for the listener at all is a fine achievement for any artist.
Coming over like RICHARD MARX, Wride dons his balladeer hat again on the appropriately moonlit ‘Luna’, before the sun rises for the filmic bass synth laden cascade of ‘I’m A Believer’, which embraces the hypnotic Hollywood influence of Giorgio Moroder as well as utilising some rousing layers of vocals. A must for all ’80s music geeks and freaks.
‘Hold On’ reimagines what a slowie for the soundtrack of ‘About Last Night’ would be like in the 21st Century, where Ollie strips it right back for a heartfelt ballad with only the smallest amount of synth, perfectly demonstrating both the power and seduction he is capable of producing from his voice.
The album finishes all too soon with the awesome FM synth rock of “The Driver”, a moody journey into ’80s fantasia where it sounds lke BILLY IDOL meets SIMPLE MINDS ands produced by Keith Forsey in 1985. Wow.
So is this a synthwave album? Well no! Is it good accessible rock&pop record with a melodic synth aesthetic that invokes memories of Brat Pack movies, aviator sunglasses and designer stubble? YES!
Ollie Wride has proved with “Thanks In Advance” that the ’80s sound and stylish production can be relevant 2019. All you need is good songs, focus and good – I mean very good – vocals, and you’ll find these aplenty on this wonderful record.
On physical format, the album is being released only on vinyl LP and… cassette, of course.
“Thanks In Advance” is everything you could possibly want from ’80s music today, whether you’re a fan of retro-synth or a child of the Eighties who just can’t or won’t accept anything that exists beyond 1989…
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01 – Never Live Without You
02 – Overcome
03 – Back to Life
04 – The Rising Tide
05 – Miracle Mile
06 – Luna
07 – I’m a Believer
08 – Hold On
09 – The Driver (feat The Night Hour)
Ollie Wride – vocals, keyboards, drums, production
Michael Oakley – synth bass, mixing, production
Chris Huggett – guitars