It’s funny how one era’s musical state of the art can so quickly become the domain of a later one’s indie underground. Plushgun mastermind Dan Ingala made the wise decision early on to add an array of synths and electronic beats to his homemade acoustic tunes and the result is a small collection of songs that so accurately recalls the mid-80s heyday of Simple Minds, Pet Shop Boys and Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark that listening to this debut EP is like unearthing a handful of outtakes from a John Hughes soundtrack. Perhaps the most revealing thing about this record ends up being its illustration of just how far home recording technology has come in just twenty years; what would have been impossible without a U2 level of expensive equipment and studio time two decades ago can now be accurately replicated within the confines of a tiny Brooklyn apartment.
As thoroughly derided as the commercial side of ‘80s New Wave may now be, sitting at the core of the genre’s shining lights was always a solid melodic foundation that has made the songs resonate long after the ridiculous fashions have gone musty. Likewise, Ingala possesses the pop smarts to match the slick polish of his music. These four songs—particularly the dreamy, pulsating “Just Impolite”—all coast along on the songwriter’s knack for razor sharp hooks and lush, synth-based instrumentation, further augmented by Ingala’s silky-smooth vocals, which finds the New Yorker adopting a convincing Britpop croon. Due for a full length early on in the new year, it remains to be seen whether Ingala can successfully stretch his formula out over the course of an entire album, but Plushgun is a charmingly retro trip.