With Afar, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart's Kurt Feldman has distilled the synth-pop revival down to its purest, '80's based resin.
Despite multiple internet searches, I have found no ancestral databases to confirm the blood relation of Ice Choir's Kurt Feldman to the late '80s superstar Corey Feldman. Nevertheless, I can't but feel like Kurt would have fit in with the Two Coreys and their kin. Feldman, best known for the critical darlings the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, uses the Ice Choir moniker to record the most pure take on '80s synth-pop that's been made since the decade concluded twenty-two years ago. The trend in genres with "synth" as a prefix or "wave" as a suffix continues to grow, but Afar has a spirit of homage rather than revision. Opener "I Want You Now and Always" says it all: sounding like a resurrected Tears for Fears B-side, the song aims at revealing the genre's nuances but instead comes off as well-executed pastiche. There's a lot to admire here, especially how authentic a lot of the synth textures are, but in the end unless one is really keen to the music of the '80s in its most unadulterated form, Afar will be a dangerously cheesy experience.