Coming in from Swansea Wales, the ever-changing group Taurus 1984 releases their nostalgic and retro album' Dream Warriors'. The band consists of Alastair Jenkins, Bobby Cole while including other artists like Tim Sudbury, Steve Sax, Abi Davies, and Jeris Spencer for added sonic depth. Their latest album "Dream Warriors" takes us back to the synth-wave sound of 1984.
Kicking off their album with the intro track/interlude "One Nine 8 Four", we can already feel that this album will be a cerebral and conceptual piece. As the track opens with white noise and radio static until landing on that groovy station "One Nine 8 Four". As the radio host gives a sweet intro to Taurus 1984 and their album "Dream Warriors," we already shift into the next track.
Not to mention, we have a few music videos within this album release, so we've decided to touch on some of the accompanying videos as well. With the next track "Dream Warriors ('20 Mix)", the track opens with the sweet kick of retro drum breaks, low bass-like synths, and vibrant keyboard melodies. Taking a look at the video, Taurus 1984 goes back and forth from vintage imagery in retro cars, performing with that 80's flare with big hair and mood-setting lighting. The track serves us something old and something new, giving us those timeless unifying vocals by Jeris Spencer at the hook, hi-fi electric guitar, and bringing forward the never-ending feeling of positive growth.
Opening the next track "Invisible Summer ('20 Mix)", we're hit with nostalgic electric guitar riffs and upbeat drum patterns. A very melodic song as the soft synths really gives us those calm and reminiscent 80's-like pop songs. Taurus 1984 also incorporates a short edit through a video of a female minding her own business and ripping down the pacific coast highway in her corvette. The track gives us a very warm-hearted feeling through added saxophone and those classic clear-cut female vocals. Giving us a track to blast when you're in those introspective summer days, Taurus 1984 knows how to set a precise mood/atmosphere.
Moving into a haunting retro beat with "Ghosts," the track opens up with a gradually growing bass-like synth while raining down with powerful male vocals adding warmth to the track. This track runs incredibly deep, highlighting growth in all its ways and forms. With a cleverly-edited 8-bit lyric video, we're really feeling the mellow and introspective vibe of this track. With lyrics that surround a two-sided relationship where views were utterly different, Taurus 1984 builds up these lyrics with energy. It drops the beat giving the track an unreachable climax through sublime instrumentals.
As the next track, "Home" makes its way over, we noticed that the track's music video has gotten lots of attention and is continually being recognized. Shot with precision and detail, the music video consists of Taurus 1984 and added vocals from Abi Davies, giving us bright ambiance throughout "Home." While the band continues performing under atmospheric lighting, Abi Davies brings us those 80's music video scenes through talking on the landline and being in the comfort of your own home. Again adding in blistering electric guitar melodies, the track really stands out as a reliable song to turn up when you're winding down at "Home."
A serene mid-tempo beat with ambient keys set off the intro for "Callin' You," all while Abi Davies once again brings her bright vocals that highlight distractions after a breakup. She sings lyrics of independence and moving forward, while this being the last time she'll be "Callin' You." Taurus 1984 really brings in a well-rounded and uplifting 80's sound through the brilliant use of synths, added pads for atmosphere, and the sweet aspect of layered vocals. With their music video, Taurus 1984 takes on a passionate performance from the comfort of their own homes during the Covid-19 lockdown/quarantine. They've really brought a powerful breakup song to the table with "Callin' You."
We are opening the next track "Icarus" with a deftly produced beat building up energy and waiting to be dropped alongside the rest of the song's instrumentation. Again, heavily tying in those dynamic electronic aspects of the '80s, Taurus 1984 sets off with incredible energy on this track and soars through with blood-pumping instrumentals and Abi Davies' striking vocals. Also adding in that melodic saxophone and hi-fi electric guitar once again, "Icarus" takes us to warm places where we roam carefree of anything but what's going on inside ourselves. This track definitely resides best with the intoxicating synth-wave sound that takes us back to 1984.
With the next track "U," Taurus 1984 starts off with a hard-hitting mid-tempo beat and impressively ties in a more modern feel through instrumentals similar to MGMT, the electronic side of Arcade Fire and even similar rhythmic techniques as Gorillaz. What sounds like a variety of people singing the same message (from young to old), we really feel a sense of unity and community through "U." The lyrical content on this track runs beautifully deep, especially during this time of self-isolation. Taurus 1984 brings lyrics of missing a specific person and wanting to go back in time just to hang out with them without a worry in the world.
Giving a groovy aspect to the album with "Situations," this track definitely stands out in a funky aspect by tying in heavy funk-like elements. Taurus 1984 definitely enjoys incorporating unifying vocals through layers, as "Situations" starts off with exactly that. Singing about being on different wave-lengths as someone else, but still wanting to get back to where you used to be. The production/instrumentals bring in an incredibly groovy atmosphere through brilliant brass elements, funky bass lines, and pulsing electric guitar. Not to mention the short mini edit video, we see a variety of spunky females all dressed up in 80's outfits and ready for a good night out.
Reaching the end of the 'Dream Warriors' album with the last track "Invisible Summer Reprise," we've noticed that it's the same lyrical content and melodies as the second track "Invisible Summer ('20 Mix)", yet is taken down in tempo and is upped in emotion. Adding in those textured drum hits that really display the deep-running passion, this version of the track really allows you to reminisce to the summer of '84 but in a different and more placid way. Closing off the album with the blissful saxophone that we couldn't get enough of, it's fair to say that Taurus 1984's album 'Dream Warriors' exudes authenticity towards modern-day trends/music. Indeed a project straight out of 1984, Taurus 1984, provides a musical time machine that swoops us back to the days of DeLorean's, big hair, and celestial pop.
You can listen to 'Dream Warriors' here.
Hey Taurus 1984, welcome to BuzzMusic! We’re hopping right in that time machine of yours and loving the 80’s feel throughout your entire album “Dream Warriors”. Since the band is known for your 80’s sound, does “Dream Warriors” carry different aspects/themes than your previous projects?
Hey BuzzMusic, Thanks so much for having me and for the kind words! Absolutely, Predominantly I was playing in a lot of guitar-based rock bands previously, so this was quite a big departure and steep learning curve. I completely fell in love with the process and the freedom of it all. I’ve had a giant love for the 1980’s culture, retro pop, and modern pop music since I was very young, it left an everlasting impression on me which in turn inspired me to create something which amalgamated these elements. It’s a really exciting and relatively new scene to be a part of, it's constantly growing and mutating all the time. It’s been fantastic to see how the 1980’s aesthetic is now creeping into popular culture more and more, with shows such as Stranger Things and artists like The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, and even Lady Gaga giving nods to Synthwave and 80’s pop.
Within your album “Dream Warriors”, Taurus 1984 brings in a variety of different artists to aid in the sonic depth of some songs. What was the creative process like when collaborating with these artists, and how did you collectively reach the end goal of each song?
I always liked the idea of a revolving door of a select number of artists who can bring their own style and unique sound to a song, I think it’s an excellent way of keeping the sound fresh. I’m always mindful when choosing people for a track to ensure that they fit the vibe of a song in the best way possible. Process wise, I tend to write 90% of everything musically, lyrically and melody wise in my studio here in Wales, it’s then exported and taken to Bobby’s studio who puts his shine and layers on the tracks. We then start the process of deciphering who would best suit the track vocally and whether we need to add any further external instrumentation, such as Saxophone, Guitar solos, etc. We’re super lucky that everyone we work with are close friends of ours, so the process is such a blast from start to finish. Not having any time constraints in the studio has been a wonderfully positive, it really brings out the aspect of play and experimentation to get a result that we’re happy with. Once the songs are complete, they are then sent to London to be mastered by mastering engineer Pete Maher. Pete has worked with some incredible artists such as U2, The 1975, Jack White and Katy Perry to name a few, He just gets the sound and nails it from his end.
We’ve noticed that Taurus 1984 has almost updated a few songs with 2020 mixes, as well as remixing songs to add a different atmosphere. For your album “Dream Warriors”, did you have some tracks in your repertoire already waiting to be released, or were all the album’s tracks made specifically for the project?
These songs were specific to Taurus 1984, Before I signed with Outland Recordings, there were a few demos released as ‘Singles’, we made the decision that we would re-record and rearrange these two songs to improve them sonically from the original mixes and arrangements. In hindsight, it could have been better to have not released them in their demo form, but that was all part of the process really. Luckily we did because it was the demo of Dream Warriors that caught the eye of Outland Recordings, so, I’m very grateful for that.
Speaking on your album “Dream Warriors”, we can feel a variety of moods and emotions set out through the entire project. Was there a specific concept that Taurus 1984 wanted to portray within the album?
Absolutely, Dream Warriors is a mega personal album to me, lyrically I wrote it as a bit of a time capsule experiment. It deals with a range of situations and emotions during the time of writing the album, each song is based on a real event or a conversation that I had. I really enjoyed exploring that aspect of things and I especially liked being quite conversational in the lyrics for a lot of these songs. The way the album runs is in an exact timeline to how things were playing out at the time chronologically.
What can we expect to see from you next?
So we’ve made a start on album number three already, I felt it was a great opportunity to get a bit of a head start while the world pressed pause. We want to keep evolving as artists and trying new things, different instrumentation, and incorporate elements musically to keep pushing us forward and to keep things interesting. We plan to make a few more music videos for the current album, which unfortunately were put on hold due to the current climate. One of which includes a runway, a DeLorean, and one or two planes… Asides from that, we plan to start doing some live performances as soon as it’s safe to do so and get this next record finished. Thanks so much for having me BuzzMusic!