The Mystic Underground – Protagonist


'Unexpected comes often' …

.. is a German say­ing which means some­thing like "things always seem to hap­pen when you least expect them". And this pins it down for this album.

Usually we have a sense for it if and when an inter­est­ing record comes in for review. Then there are the ones we´d like to review, but don't even receive a promo on dir­ect request (espe­cially young­er acts should really overthink their mar­ket­ing strategies here!). In addi­tion, we daily receive pro­mo­tions, we won't review for very good reasons.

And then there are these few happy cases, when a band sends us their album for "listen­ing", without expect­ing any­thing. And if you are as pos­it­ively sur­prised, as we were with the present album of 'The Mystic Underground', it´s some­thing special.

Feels like a hidden secret uncovered

It's really a pity that I nev­er heard of the band before. This is already the third album in the dis­co­graphy of 'The Mystic Underground'. So I can't com­ment on the pre­de­cessors at the moment. The cur­rent album 'Protagonist', how­ever, is very appeal­ing to us. Stylistic par­agons are clearly greats like 'Depeche Mode', 'Pet Shop Boys' and oth­er 80s Synth Pop bands. However, these guys from New York have their very own unmis­tak­able style. I'm par­tic­u­larly impressed by and want to emphas­ize the sooth­ing and gentle voice of the singer.

The Mystic Underground – Promo photo 2016

'Let the music play'

The first seconds of the open­er 'Evelyn, You'll Be The Death Of Me' have cap­tiv­ated me. With the onset of the first vocals I was com­pletely seized and hoped for more such great songs. With the second song 'War Of The Roses' my hopes were more than sat­is­fied. This is a super catchy and clas­sic Synth Pop song that could write almost his­tory with the right air­time on radio. The bass­line is simple, but awe­somely groovy and is match­able to well-known Synth Pop hits in every way!

'In The Walking Hour' sounds bleak and at the same time gor­geously beau­ti­ful. If you like the early albums like 'Nightfall' or 'Truth' of 'Beborn Beton' then you surely will love this song. The sub­sequent song 'Laughter Turns To Tears' hits the same, mel­an­chol­ic score, fol­lowed by anoth­er poten­tial hit called 'Carry On, Young Men'. This song comes along with an extremely groovy hook and a sig­ni­fic­ant, mem­or­able chorus.

'Crash and burn you never learn' …

… is one of the lyr­ic­al lines that has burned itself into my mind after the first listen­ing of 'That's How Rumours Start'. This song has def­in­itely the qual­ity of a clas­sic 'Erasure' song and I strongly recom­mend you to listen in on this mas­ter­piece. To be hon­est, for 'A Future In Film', I have needed a few attempts, since it is a bit more multi-layered and com­plex than the oth­er songs. But once the knot is untangled, the song appears qual­it­at­ively no way inferi­or to the oth­er tracks.

Much more quietly and emo­tion­ally 'The Mystic Undground' present their song 'Here In My House'. Sonically it dif­fers to the rest of the album, but it sounds awe­somely unique. Brilliant lyr­ics are melted with slow, cold beats. The bells in the song 'Those Evil Urges' are remin­is­cents of a typ­ic­al 90s 'Pet Shop Boys'-track, and it´s just as catchy as that. Nevertheless the song reveals its very own char­ac­ter. BTW: We are proud to present 'Those Evil Urges' on the next Electrozombies com­pil­a­tion 'Undead And Open-Minded Vol.2'.

Closing words

What an awe­some 'Synth-Pop-tast­ic' album! Running a webz­ine like Electrozombies costs tons of spare time and quite some money, but these are the pre­cious moments when you've found an unex­pec­ted jew­el like 'Protagonist'. Out of the blue, we received an album that keeps us aston­ished. A long-play­er full of mar­velous Synth Pop tunes. Please sup­port these young Synth Pop her­oes by buy­ing the album 'Protagonist' now!

By the way, this album also made it into our art­icle ‘The best Synth Pop and genre-related albums 2016‘. Read now.

Track By Track Rating

The Mystic Underground Protagonist
The Mystic Underground – Protagonist
Evelyn, You'll Be The Death Of Me
War Of The Roses
In The Waking Hour
Laughter Turns To Tears
Carry On, Young Men
That's How Rumours Start
A Future In Film
Here In My House
Those Evil Urges
Remember Me
War Of The Roses
Carry On, Young Men
That's How Rumours Start
(Nothing to report here)
A bleak star

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Evelyn, You'll Be The Death Of Me
War Of The Roses
In The Waking Hour
Laughter Turns To Tears
Carry On, Young Men
That's How Rumours Start
A Future In Film
Here In My House
Those Evil Urges
Remember Me
Final Score