Soccer96’s Dopamine straddles the line between Sci-Fi fantasy and reality.
Soccer96 don’t want to transport you to the future. They want to filter it onto your everyday.
The sci-fi artwork of the 1960s, which often trapped wild ideas of the future into snapshots that froze the wonder of what might be, feel like an apt pairing for Dopamine. As detailed and passionate those pictures can be, they are kept out of reach by the limitations of their media. Furthermore, they remain stuck in time by the era from which they came from – our version of the future now is very different to that of 60 years ago.
Which is why I’ve been left intrigued by Soccer96’s intentions on their new album. In a time of immense technological advancement, their record hints at the inherent weakness of envisioning the future: it never turns out to be quite what we imagined.
” …the result is a necessary, intelligent album that asks you to frame the future in the contemporary.”
Pulled through the medium of nu-jazz, a genre that practically encourages transmutive music, and the result is a necessary, intelligent album that asks you to frame the future in the contemporary. The underlying stillness of their sound grounds the album with waiting room energy, encouraging you to let it fill the background instead of demanding constant attention. And it pays off; the rewards are rich melodies and sci-fi daydream material.
Whether you want to put your own version of the future into their music is really up to you – the balance of bigger, rockier cuts like its title track with sky-filling synth explorations like ‘Perfect Dystopia’ give you a lot of freedom. Its ability to sit between explicit fantasy and music that feels tangible enough to put into the everyday is the record’s greatest strength.
“The urgency to be cool that often feels appropriate with jazz wouldn’t work so well here “
While some would demand that a concept album have a firmer context than the ease at which the record coasts you into its world, it’s exciting too to hear something that straddles a line between the imagined and the present. The urgency to be cool that often feels appropriate with jazz wouldn’t work so well here, and Dopamine makes no attempt to convince you of that. Instead, you’re offered something that captures the ways we dream of the future packaged into an easygoing and imaginative listen.