Retrowave comes in many different forms: at worst it can wholly prioritise surface-level aesthetic over compositional merit, serving as nothing more than an aural Instagram filter, but at best it can be extremely evocative, an inviting pool of 8-bit nostalgia. Com Truise is one of the best practitioners of the subgenre, and his fourth record for Ghostly International shows off his skills well. While the songs on Persuasion System initially seem to be much of a muchness, moods and textures change subtly and effectively.
2017's Iteration was supposedly the end of the Com Truise saga, but the project itself continued with 2019's Persuasion System mini-album. Seth Haley switched up his equipment and worked on capturing some new sounds, but the results still fit the overall feel of his previous work. "Wordline" opens with woozy textures and a submerged computer voice, not dissimilar to Com Truise's past releases.
A safe and solid return.
Synthwave is a by-product of 80s pop culture, this is no secret. Its whole selling point is repackaging 80s technology and making something creative out of it; because of this, it's a sound that has to shield itself behind the nostalgias of that era, regardless of how artistically inventive it attempts to be. To be blunt, it's a genre built upon the limitations set by technology made 30-some years ago, and as a result makes itself a novelty with restricted movement.