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Album Review: John Maus - Screen Memories

27 October 2017 | 12:26 pm | Guido Farnell

"Maus is back with a vengeance."

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Just when you might have been thinking that John Maus had disappeared into academia after having completed his PhD, he drops his first album in six years.

Apparently, Maus has been brushing up on his soldering skills and getting busy with the whole DIY analogue modular thing that seems to be all the rage among synthesiser geeks. This album, however, represents more of a refinement than a departure from the lo-fi electro-punk that Maus is known to frequent. The spiky angular edges have been softened by allowing '80s electro-pop to feature more prominently in the mix.

Screen memories are falsely remembered memories that mask another memory of deeper emotional significance. The cascading arpeggiated sequences played out on glittering synths seem to be hiding darker truths under their artificial sparkle. The John Carpenter references instil a sense of lurking terror. Maus’ gravelly baritone delivers humorously ironic lyrics that reflect dark times but it's kind of lost in eminently danceable beats and dreamy synth textures. Fake memories of '80s synth-pop haunted by the ghost of Ian Curtis wrapped up into nuggets designed to soundtrack the aftermath of the apocalypse. Maus is back with a vengeance.