LA Dark Synth Pop Ensemble Male Tears Throw a Retrowave House Party in Their Video for “Talk to Me”

I don’t wanna stare into the darkness or settle for the give and take

Can it be we have another problem? I feel like everything is a mistake

A mere year after the release of their brooding and intense album Krypt, the LA-based ensemble Male Tears has made a remarkable return with a completely new sound. Now a quartet, with vocalist James Edward leading the charge, they’ve shifted from being more than just a dark wave act to integrating the dance-driven pulse of 80s synth-pop Italo disco.

With their upcoming fourth album in just three years, this American electronic-pop act from Southern California raises the stakes once more. Where Krypt was steeped in gothic gloom and unsettling intensity, the forthcoming new album Paradisco stands in stark contrast, embracing the brighter, more vibrant energy that feels like the collision of genres and beats found in NYC’s Danceteria circa 1984.

This transformation unfolds in the dimly lit corners of a disco ball-lit nightclub dance floor, bathed in deep reds and magentas. Here, the charismatic James Edward takes center stage, adorned with ruffles and makeup that pay homage to icons like Steve Strange and Robert Smith. His presence is magnetic, offering a masterclass in the enchanting allure of New Romanticism.

The latest single from Paradisco, Talk To Me, wraps us up in a fuzzy memory of delicate nostalgia driven by sounds that pay homage equally to Miko Mission, Ken Laszlo, New Order, Exposé, and The Smiths. While the sound is bouncy and upbeat with effervescent female voices in the chorus, the lyrics betray an entirely different truth.

The song depicts someone grappling with solitude and internal conflict, feeling as though their life is scripted and their heart is cold. They seek a cure for their turmoil, haunted by visions and uncertain truths. The recurring plea for communication underscores a palpable tension and fear, as they confront their own desires and the darkness within, ultimately yearning for connection and validation in the midst of their emotional chaos.

In a dim room, surrounded by the glow of screens, a figure plays video games with friends, fingers moving deftly across a mega-drive controller, yet no joy was felt. Our protagonist, but a mere puppet, actions dictated by unseen forces. The sound of laughter rings hollow, an echo of the whispers that guided his tactile combinations. Commands were followed. Life but a series of button presses and joystick tilts. In the game, he is a hero, but in reality, merely an avatar manipulated by wires. Longing for control, yet trapped in a personal prison. He and others like him yearn for contact, yet are separated by the split screen. They are partygoers in this carnival of life, all wanting to reach out to touch someone. But in the hands of a mime, a phone is but a brick whose distant voice cries out in the glow of a room swathed in a helium haze of party balloons.

This is the theme behind the poignant and enigmatic video, directed by Danniel Maggio. Watch below:

Paradisco features eight new tracks that delve deep into the realms of Italo disco, hi-NRG, and freestyle. This new album marks a departure from the darker tones Male Tears has explored over the past three years. With their quest for darkness now behind them, the band invites listeners to dress up and embrace the lighter side of life, encouraging a break from self-pity and urging them to cut away the unnecessary and stagnant.

The album is available in a variety of limited editions via Avant! Records, with only 250 copies each of light blue vinyl, yellow vinyl, and digipak CDs, along with a digital version. Fans can look forward to the release on July 12th.

You can pre-order Paradisco here:

Catch Male Tears live:

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Alice Teeple

Alice Teeple is a photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and writer. She is not in Tin Machine.

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