T.R.A.S.E. stands for Tape Recorder And Sythesiser Enable: the woodwork, metalwork and science homework project of Andy Popplewell who was 16-years-old in 1981 when these kitsch coldwave soundscapes were made. Of course, they weren’t kitsch then, and today bands like LA Vampires and others on future-retro, lo-fi label Not Not Fun try to write outsider C90 pop exactly as unpretentious as this. It’s only now that their failures are clear.

‘T.R.A.S.E.’ – performed on primitive, self-soldered electronic instruments and largely instrumental throughout, which is a shame when you hear Popplewell’s unimpressed, frozen-in-time new wave vocals on Gary Numan cover ‘We Are So Fragile’ – is a passion project frozen in time, from an age when alternative pop music was striving to be of its time and the future. Ironically, it’s probably only coming out now due to our fetishisation of the ’80s, but that only makes this time capsule of DIY sci-fi electro all the more special. At last, in revival-mad 2013, the real thing.


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