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While that fluorescently lit, mystical synth world of the nineteen eighties has been paid many a visit by various artists in recent years, few recreate the sound quite as precisely as Ashrae Fax. Whether this is a good thing or not, however, is questionable. While the likes of Beach House and Wild Nothing swim in the same rippling '80s guitar and keyboard lines as The Cure and New Order, both do so in such a way that accepts that 30 odd years have passed. This acceptance is something that Ashrae Fax clearly have trouble with, or, more appropriately, choose to disregard completely. Instead, their latest effort, Never Really Been Into It, sees the North Carolina band do everything in their power to recreate those teenage years spent listening to Robert Smith in the solitary confines of their bedrooms, flaunting their ability to rejuvenate every trick in the period's goth and alt-rock song book.

In fairness, Never Really Been Into It isn't quite as modern as its release date. Originally written in the late nineties, the songs were mothballed until 2013 when Renée Mendoza and Alex Chesney decided the time was right for the world to see, or rather hear, their teenage obsessions. And musically, there is decidedly little wrong with the record. The guitar lines on 'CHKN' and 'Decaax' sound just as beautifully gloomy as only goth-rock from that period can, while the brooding synths that haunt the album could be straight from the soundtrack of some contemporary Twin Peaks-esque drama.

Ultimately, though, this leads to the undeniable conclusion that Ashrae Fax should have released Never Really Been Into It when they wrote it. Had it been released circa '88, it would have been lost in the sea of everything else that sounded exactly the same. By only seeing the light of day now, the duo can only be considered at best a semi-tribute band and masters of ethereal goth-rock pastiche. There are only so many Cure references that can fit in one review, and this one is in serious danger of exceeding its limit.

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