Originally formed by a group of high-school friends in 1984, Chinese Whispers found their sound amongst the art nouveau stylings of Glasgow’s Clydebank. Thirty-five years later and Chinese Whispers found themselves back in the heart of the music scene, pushing their ‘80s sound back into the spotlight with the release of ‘About Time’, an album filled a sense of vibrancy and nostalgic wonder.
Arriving as a reflection on the past both warmly and also as a gentle warning about living in the past at the expense of the present, ‘About Time’ brings together eleven glistening, almost orchestral sci-fi tracks that effortlessly recreate the classic mid 80's power-pop sound. Opening track ‘King of The Night’ perfectly sets the tone for the album, rising from a luminescent wave of synth tones to create a high-stepping medley of deft percussive strikes and unapologetically ‘80s vocals. It’s a stunning feat, transporting the listener back into the wild, creative heard of the era.
Second cut 'Breathe' lands with a sudden burst of sound that quickly transitions into wandering melodic tones, creating a slow-burning, emotive atmosphere that showcases a more nuanced sound, before the title track takes us back into the eye of the storm. There’s a touch of Genesis about it, rallying around a central and progressive pop sound that every listener will feel instantly familiar with.
Moving forward, ‘Rico’s Theme’ and ‘Hammer It Home’ conjure a deep, emotive sound that lingers well after the final tones have faded from your speakers, bringing a more global influence to the album, while ‘Midnight Movies’ burns brightly with a definitive rock edge. It’s the contrast between these more anthemic moments and the heavy, involving instrumentals, particularly in rolling acoustic chords of closing track ‘Epilogue’ that makes the album shine, heightening the central pop rhythms and making the album an authentic slice of ‘80s invention.
Both wonderfully familiar and boldly fresh, ‘About Time’ easily proves that it is more than just a recreation of old school sounds. Utilising cinematic pop sounds to create an impressive range of sounds and styles, Chinese Whispers have proved that the glorious sounds of the mid-’80s are still well and truly alive.
You can stream ‘About Time’ above via Spotify, or find it today on Amazon, Bandcamp, and Apple Music.