Album Review - "Glossy" EP by Von Kaiser

Von Kaiser returns with a 4 track EP steeped in electronic and '80s sounds featuring the amazing talents of all band members involved....

August 31, 2019

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Von Kaiser - Glossy EP artwork

A recap of the band Von Kaiser:

    This phenomenal band calls Grand Rapids, Michigan their home, and it's no secret that some of us here at NightrideFM are rabid fans. Their debut album "Landline" was released on May 4th, 2019, with an instrumental version dropping shortly afterward on June 14th. Before releasing this most recent EP called "Glossy", they also dropped a beautiful single called "Deanna" on July 8th (fans fortunate enough to attend the Outland Toronto 2019 music festival on July 6th could meet the band in person and acquire a free copy of the single on CD). Comprising of a trio of talented artists (David, Kaylin and Jake), Von Kaiser creates exceptional vocal synthwave reminiscent of great '80s ballads. ‌‌

David, Jake, and Kaylin...Von Kaiser

Enough "glossing" over the band, let's dive into the EP:  ‌

    "Glossy" released on August 31st, 2019 as an EP containing four songs that veer slightly from Von Kaiser's previous sounds. The sounds here are more electronic yet ooze retro, with beautiful guitar work, uplifting vocals, and strong bold synths. I can't be sure, but the mixing and mastering here is vastly improved from their prior work. Not only that, but the composition of the songs allows for distinct places for each piece of the tunes to shine.

The following are the 4 tracks on this super cool EP:

"Glossy" - One of my favourite things about Von Kaiser is their uplifting synthy notes layered on electronic chords and guitars. Throw in amazing vocals and you have a recipe for success. The title track from the EP does not disappoint. This is one memorable song, with intense electronic vibes from Jake coupled with David's voice flowing into your ear. Throw in some sampled "ah oh's" from Kaylin and then fresh guitar sounds later in the song, and you'll be feeling "all right". One thing I have to say, and I consider this a success and a signature: Every time I hear the words "street lights", I'll think of several Von Kaiser songs, most notably this one.

Billy - This instrumental song is strong in the synthwave feels, reminding me of tracks from established artists like Sellorekt/LADreams or FM Attack, yet it features VK's unabashed strong notes and unique synth instruments and phrasing. Arps and plucks abound, creating a crystal clear melody featuring all kinds of cool effects.

Mechanism - Starting out with an instrumental sound, it then flows into Kaylin's beautiful voice leading the song, with David providing complementing vocals on the chorus. Jake's synth work shines throughout, and the three together create a very retro sounding song. Towards the last minute of the song, an amazing sax jumps in briefly to lend credence to the song's nostalgic vibes. If you like retrowave, this tune oozes it in spades.

Pink Leotard - Ok, this song screams '80s. "All right, let's cool down" and "Time to pick it up" are the key phrases heard in it. Like Ace Buchannon's "Buns of Steel" or Ace Marino's "Muscle Beach", this song is a retro workout fan's wet dream. I wish more artists would spin up tunes like this. High energy, fun, and nostalgic. I tried to picture David or Jake in pink leotards, but it just doesn't work. It must be Kaylin providing the vocal samples, and most likely the one who would sport such an outfit. I'm pretty sure I'm accurate when I include the above GIF as the most likely inspiration for this song.  

    Von Kaiser has released nothing but quality ever since they hit the scene, but this EP truly takes it up a notch. The mastering has vastly improved, thanks to Steve Gillson (FM-84, Phaserland, and more). You can blast these songs and hear each and every layer, note, arp, reverb, chord, voice, and instrument. I will say it time and again: The synthwave scene is lucky to have a band like this in our midst, and for heaven's sake, if you are an organizer for any synthwave events, book these guys immediately!

Von Kaiser posing with a couple of fans at the Outland Toronto 2019 pre-party: From left to right: Some clown (me), Jake, Kaylin, Kaarin Zoe Lee from Seattle, and David.

Follow and support Von Kaiser at the links below:


Julian Green

Published August 31, 2019

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