“8 Bit Heart” is the début album from up-and-coming artist Simon Curtis that is currently available for free from his website; yes, you read that correctly, it’s available for free and you can get it here.
The album is an enjoyable, cohesive romp through a digital landscape, with high quality audio production and lyrics that play around the technological set-up without sounding cringe-worthy and dated. It is nicely bookended with an intro (“BoyRobot”) and outro (“Victory”) that frame the concept of the album; “Victory” is particularly evocative of early console game music used over end credits. Throughout the album you get the feeling that Simon is very much in his element and the concept for the album never feels contrived or forced.
Vocally, Simon has an impressive range, with falsetto elements similar in tone to Darren Hayes of Savage Garden fame and a mid-range, to my mind, reminiscent of a slightly higher version of American Idol alumni Blake Lewis; this association is perhaps enhanced by a vaguely similar musical style, both rooted in electro-pop technology.
Particular highlights on the album are the stomping “Fell in Love w/an Android”, which takes a technological slant at the classic tale of falling for someone who turns out to be a rather cold and unfeeling individual. Its instrumentation uses Gameboy-style sound effects, with a melody and rhythm suggestive of the early 90s cartoon “Captain Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars” (forgive me, Simon, but that’s what it reminded me of!) making it a very catchy song. Then there is the song “Diablo” which has a musical structure that reminds me of Britney Spears’ track “Radar” from her superb “Blackout” album, even though it name-checks another well-known pop star at the start, Kelly Clarkson.
Elsewhere there is the track “Delusional” with beats that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Timbaland record. Indeed, I would not be surprised to learn that Simon is a fan of hip-hop as he also successfully transplants a Jay-Z rap in to the last song on the album, “The Dark”.
All in all it’s a very promising début from Simon. His next album “RΔ” is scheduled for release later this Spring; below is a sampler of this release that sounds like it’s going to be just as good as “8Bit Heart”
Finally, I will leave you with my favourite track off the album, “Fell in Love w/an Android”, as well as a reminder that IT’S A FREE DOWNLOAD, so go get it now, what’s the worst that could happen? It could be your new favourite album…