Piston Damp – Making The World Great Again

This is Future Pop 2.0

Piston Damp - Making The World Great Again

Album facts

Release Date: June 10th, 2021
Label: Sub Culture Records
Genre: , , ,
Discogs: Not available yet
Partially sounds like: Apoptygma Berzerk, New Order, And One, Priest
Final score: 4 stars
Matching album cliches: 1 / 7

So far, the Piston Damp tale: The band was already founded in 2000, but it remained a hobby project for the next 20 years until Jonas Groth (brother of Apoptygma Berzerk‘s Stephan Groth) wrote the song ‘Something In Me’ in 2020. This became their first single and was remixed by a number of international acts including ‘The Anix‘ and ‘Technomancer‘. 2021 the release of the single “Loose Ends’ which included the B-side “Don’t” saw the light of the world. The highly awaited single ‘Runaway’ was released in April, with remixes from bands such as ‘Mesh,’ ‘Die Krupps,’ and ‘Substaat’. The album ‘Making The World Great Again’ was crafted by the band and mixed with its good friend Magne Johansen. It was mastered by Ole-Espen Kristiansen for digital platforms, and by the legendary Morten Lund for CD and vinyl. On one of the tracks, Stephan Groth contributes on a vocoder.

A dream come true

I know that this is not an album by ‘Apoptygma Berzerk‘ and I hope Jonas and Truls don’t hold the comparison against me. The last really good Apop album ‘Rocket Science‘ (2009) was a long time ago and we all thirst for new material. Sure, ‘Major Tom’ and the last few EPs were great, but they also felt like consolations somehow. With the first beats of ‘Heart Of Fire’ my heart is literally on fire! This is exactly how I imagined Apop’s next album in my wildest dreams. By the way, I’m aware that this sounds filthy, but I love this band just as much as I love ‘Depeche Mode‘. An epic, electronic sound that heroically leads into a new future, or something like that can be used to describe the sound. After hearing the first vocals, tears of joy come to my eyes. I am so infinitely overjoyed with this magnificent opener.

I don’t have to write much about the Single ‘Runaway’, I suppose. If scene personalities like ‘Mesh‘ or ‘Die Krupps’ remix it, then the duo must have done something right. The song is super catchy and a fantastic club hit to fill the dance floor. I always find these little SciFi-sounding synth effects interspersed particularly awesome. Used subtly, this enhances pretty much every song in this genre.

The debut Single ‘Something In Me’ has played its way into my heart. Do you still know the good old C64 or Amiga scene intros and demos? The track starts with just such an ingenious sound. So how do you respond to that? Furthermore, this song has a bit of the naive attitude of an 80s Electro Pop song, but is anchored in the now. The lyrics are so beautiful and make everyone melt. As I’m writing this and thinking about how to describe this song, all I can think the whole time is “How can a band create such an infinitely amazing song?”. I am so on my knees.

Why are you looking at me like that?
Is it something I have said?
Is it something I have done?
Lyrics from ‘Something In Me’ by ‘Piston Damp’

After joy comes pain

Piston Damp (Promo photo 2020 by Kine Jensen)
Piston Damp (Promo photo 2020 by Kine Jensen)

The song ‘Depth Of Your Eyes’ begins melodramatically and I am immediately grounded again after the flight of fancy of the first tracks. The strings and words pull the ground out from under my feet and I want to start crying right away. However, there is nothing artificial here in the song (except the synths of course), no, the sadness really comes from deep within and you can feel that with every note played. I love songs that can trigger such strong feelings and that has to be rewarded with 5 stars. Thank you for this song!

After another short but very emotional ‘Never Though It Would End’ we come to the next highlight on the album. The name giving title track ‘Making The World Great Again’ starts almost with a military strict EBM beat in the style of  a typical ‘And One‘ club classic and a ‘Priest‘ opus. Damn, that sounds sweet and, above all, so fucking right! Loaded up with positive energy, I finally want to get back on the dance floor and dance to this.

The song “Don’t”, which has already been released as a B-side with the Single ‘Loose Ends‘, begins dark and pulsating. The beat and the bassline, which have the grace of a New Order classic, come banging out of the speakers. Again, there are typical 80s synth elements in the melody that beautifully brighten up the song and bring in a little more variance.

An incontrovertible and painful truth: Everything ends at some point

‘Loose Ends’ is a lovely classic Synth Pop song, with not too many surprises. But it has a chorus and a melody that immediately sticks in the ear. But what more do you need? A mid-tempo beat, harmonically balanced synths, a catchy rhythm and a good dynamic, then the Synth Pop heart is satisfied.

Time sets its course
Wipes away the beauty of it all and we grow old
And suddenly one day we disappear
Lyrics from ‘Loose Ends’ by ‘Piston Damp’

With a gorgeous, dark beat, ‘Piston Damp’ presents the song ‘Testimony’. During the first verse, a ghostly voice echoes over my headphones in a stereo effect. Pure goosebump feeling! Lyrics like: “but every time you tell me this I feel lost without you”, send cold shivers down my spine. It’s nice to hear such an emotionally charged song again at the near end of the album. At this point I would like to honour the fact that the arrangement of the individual tracks on the album has been chosen excellently.

The final track ‘Another Pain’ flirts with a typical “last song ballad” at the beginning. But the duo manages to build up the song linearly from a very minimalistic sound at the beginning to an ultimate, orchestral grand finale with everything that goes with it. Only to let the opus come to an sudden end. This is a statement that everyone can interpret for themselves.

An album to make the world great again

Yes, the album ‘Making The World Great Again’ is a glimpse of hope in our dark world. With the end of probably the most incompetent and empathy-less American president ever, and the end of the Corona pandemic approaching, it feels like everything is somehow going to be alright again. Of course, there will always be crises, wars and injustices on earth. As a sober realist, I don’t want to indulge in any illusions or utopias myself. That’s why it’s all the more important to bring hope into the world. And somehow this album gives me exactly the energy and vibes it needs to do that.

I already ordered the physical CD and I only can recommend the album highly. For ‘Apoptygma Berzerk‘ fans the purchase is obligatory, To everyone who loves Synth Pop and Future Pop: Buy, buy, buy Piston Damp’s debut album ‘Making The World Great Again’ now!

Track by track rating for: Piston Damp – Making The World Great Again

Piston Damp - Making The World Great Again
Piston Damp – Making The World Great Again
ШУМ
Heart Of Fire
Runaway
Something In Me
Depth Of Your Eyes
Factor Out
Never Though It Would End
Making The World Great Again
Don't
Loose Ends
Sacred Secret
Testimony
Another Pain
Recommend
Heart Of Fire
Something In Me
Depth Of Your Eyes
Making The World Great Again
Weak
ШУМ
Factor Out
Sacred Secret
4

Typical album cliché list for: Piston Damp – Making The World Great Again