Paraphon - Anecdotes of Wired Minds (Album Review)

Swiss electronic duo Paraphon came together out of a mutual love of synthesizers. This is not surprising as their debut album, "Anecdotes of Wired Minds", is built upon a foundation of crafted electronica and atmospheric mixes. Using the dreamy possibilities of synthesized sound as a catalyst for catchy pop melodies, the group celebrates the lighter side of life with this breezy collection of well-crafted tunes. 

From the disco-twinged "Told Me", which deals with themes of unwelcome familial advice, to the arty experimentalism of "Aferlife", Paraphon never stretch themselves too thin or clutter their tracks with unnecessary textures or ideas. Indeed, these songs have a crystal clear feeling, even when arpeggiated synths ring out behind electric strikes and mysteriously reverberate tones. The vocals here benefit from the singer's accent, as ambiguously European as it is. The words are delivered in a kind of na├»ve purity of emotion that balance well with the utilitarian and often haughty electronica.  

The definition of 'intermezzo' is "a short connecting instrumental movement in an opera or other musical work." yet on the track "Intermezzo", Paraphon delivers a full and rewarding instrumental piece that could stand on its own two feet. Paraphon is as concerned with purveying slick and solid EDM as much as they are the hooky pop gold found on a track like "Miles", with its exploding chorus, Phil-Collins-Esque drum fills, and focus on dynamics. Elsewhere, the album apex, "Afterlife", sets disorienting and rhythmic sounds against gentle percussive ideas and low-in-the-mix vocals to produce a track of sweet escapism. 

Where Paraphon sometimes miss the mark is when the compositions become paint-by-number or when the vocals could've benefited from another take ("Wired Minds", "Forest of Fairytale"), but this duo show enough strength of character and complimentary play that any iffy moments become a freckle on a pretty face. 

Replete with smooth synths, punchy percussion, and 80's nostalgia, "Anecdotes of Wired Minds" is a pleasant and beguiling album. Its seven tracks develop nicely, and the electronic and highly processed instrumentation never becomes dull. Paraphon can demonstrate technical ability and produce uplifting tracks yet show little interest in breaking into the mainstream, though some of the songs in this collection suggest that's not a distant possibility.