Pop Smear’s New Instrumental Single “Nuclear” Has the Surreal Mystery and Charm of Darkened Early 80s Video Game Arcades

Pop Smear, photo courtesy the artists

Pop Smear’s latest single “Nuclear” finds the New York City-based duo crafting what sounds like an alternative soundtrack to The Atomic Café. It is playful throughout but with an undertone of urgency and brushes of menace. Unlike Pop Smear’s usually oeuvre, this is an instrumental reminiscent of something Fad Gadget might have done or Xeno & Oaklander might do now. Its sound is retrofuturistic like a soundtrack to a pinball machine, the beat and rhythm bouncy, the synth arpeggio’s rolling like clockwork, the splashes of slightly distorted synth as melody like hitting the flippers to send the ball rolling to trigger lights and an escalating score. All the while there is a sense of the otherworldly combined with a familiarity like you walked through a door into an early 1980s arcade with your knowledge of video game post 1979 wiped from your memory and how surreal, mysterious and magical it felt even knowing they were just games with the threat of nuclear holocaust pending as the Cold War was, perhaps unknowingly, coming to a close. Even if it wasn’t aiming for that vibe, that’s what “Nuclear” sounds like to anyone who might remember that era. Listen to “Nuclear” on YouTube and follow Pop Smear at their Facebook page linked below.