System Syn – Once Upon A Second Act

New album, new life

System Syn - Once Upon A Second Act

Album facts

Release Date: June 26th, 2020
Label: Self-release
Genre: , ,
Discogs: Link
Partially sounds like: Imperative Reaction, Björk

There are bands that announce a new album over and over again for years, but then life hap­pens and noth­ing is released. System Syn, how­ever, seem to prefer a dif­fer­ent approach. The last album 'No Sky To Fall' is already 7 years old. But instead of teas­ing for a long time the band releases out of the blue and very sur­pris­ingly the new album 'Once Upon A Second Act'.

After such a long break I'm of course curi­ous how the sound of 'System Syn' has developed and changed. And fur­ther which mood the album exudes and where the lyr­ic­al jour­ney leads to.

A new System Syn chapter

The open­er is a clas­sic 'System Syn' tune with a super catchy chor­us and typ­ic­al Future Pop ele­ments. But the sound is far away from what I call the "Ibiza Gothic" beat. Rather calm, melod­ic and very emo­tion­al. I love this song from the first time I listened to it and I think the band has chosen a good song to start with.

With 'Promise' it imme­di­ately becomes a few facets calmer and dark­er on the album. I didn't expect it so early, but it works sur­pris­ingly well. Slowly and mel­an­chol­ic­ally the song drags itself for­ward. Gently and sens­it­ively the lyr­ics are presen­ted like an apo­logy. Here an uncom­fort­able goose skin feel­ing arises and leaves nobody untouched.

I'm so sorry no one told you I am not a man to follow
Your heart demands too much for it to beat beneath my shadow
Lyrics from 'Promise' by System Syn

Clint Carney (Promo picture 2020)
Clint Carney (Promo pic­ture 2020)

The title song 'Once Upon A Second Act' is a fant­ast­ic, although sor­row­ful Synth Pop track. The intro begins with excit­ing synth dis­tor­ted noise that slowly dis­solves. The drums sound ana­log warm, but have the neces­sary elec­tron­ic punch. The mel­an­chol­ic lyr­ics are per­formed here in an extremely pleas­ing Synth Pop song. The sub­ject is prob­ably as old as man­kind itself. It is about sep­ar­a­tion and deal­ing with the past. In this case won­der­fully expressed without becom­ing too sentimental.

Leave the past behind

After the first beats you expect a punchy disco / fun­fair techno sound. 'King Of Empty' turns out to be a good mid-tempo Future Pop song. A clean beat with inbuilt bleeps and a boom­ing organ. I think the song is pretty groovy, espe­cially because you get in quickly. There is noth­ing acous­tic­ally com­plex to untangle before you can enjoy the song. This style is awe­some and con­fini­ent for the listener.

After the last very dance­able songs, the album is enriched with the emo­tion­ally charged bal­lad 'We Had Time'. But it is not the typ­ic­al one-instru­ment (Piano) bal­lad. It has more the com­plex­ity of early Björk works. The song must have a hell of a lot of sound chan­nels and the bril­liant thing is that the song nev­er seems over­loaded at any point. Rather the oppos­ite is the case. It is an acous­tic light­weight that offers new sounds to dis­cov­er every few seconds. System Syn has really put a lot of heart and soul into this.

The gods were laugh­ing at us in all our innocence
and every passing year revealed our arrogance
Lyrics from 'We Had Time' by System Syn

Discover the right connections

Really kickin' beats come with 'Knives' blast­ing into your ears. Very subtly, the very mod­ern sound­ing mid-tempo track res­on­ates with an 80s Electropop vibe. A suc­cess­ful mix­ture, which I dis­covered myself only after listen­ing to it sev­er­al times. Here the repe­ti­tion is worth­while to explore new facets of the songs.

'Collapsing' is a really weird and gloomy track on the album 'Once Upon A Second Act'. On the com­plete instru­ment­a­tion there is a lit­er­ally heavy car­pet that absorbs everything sound-wise. The vocals are sev­er­al lay­ers above it and are there­fore the focus of this ballad.

Groovy and dom­in­ated by piano we get the song 'We Knew You When' served. The piece has a great mood and brings a new won­der­ful sound­ing com­pon­ent to the album. It's a pity that the song nev­er really takes off, as if one would stand on the brakes forever. Here I would have really wished for more dynamics.

'Nothings Wrong' fits per­fectly behind the track 'We Knew You When'. However, here I like the chor­us a little bit bet­ter, because it stands out more clearly and catchy. The dis­tor­ted gui­tars give the song a shal­low Electro Rock touch, which I like very much.

Is my heart electrified?

System Syn's new album 'Once Upon A Second Act' is far bey­ond mediocrity for the genre. But the acous­tic jour­ney is not free of weak pas­sages. For fans, the ques­tion of pur­chase does not even exist. Genre lov­ers will also find some fant­ast­ic songs here and should def­in­itely take a listen. And as always my advice: If you like it, buy the album and sup­port the artist instead of just stream­ing it on Spotify and co.

Track By Track Rating

System Syn - Once Upon A Second Act
System Syn – Once Upon A Second Act
The Wreckage
Once Upon A Second Act
King Of Empty
We Had Time
We Knew You When
Nothing's Wrong
The End
The Wreckage
Once Upon A Second Act
(Nothing to report here)
Well done