Tropic of Cancer are the American duo Camella Lobo and Juan Mendez (a.k.a. Techno producer Silent Servant).
They've slowly gained a following in the last couple of years and now present their most satisyfing work to date. It's released on the Rome-based label Mannequin Records as a download and also as a limited edition of 300 copies. This in itself is a sign of the times – had it actually been released in the 80s it could have sold at least a few thousand on vinyl, if not more.
If David Lynch ever makes another film he'd be well-advised to include Tropic of Cancer on the soundtrack
'The One Left' is based around a fast, new wave-ish drumbeat and conveys an “authentic” early 80s feeling of uplifting European melancholy offset by tasteful American guitars and heavily reverbed vocals. Mendez' production skills are on display here, keeping the reverb in check and not letting the beats get lost in a sonic fog.
The absolute highlight is 'Beneath The Light', which for me evokes a last slow dance between doomed lovers in a deserted ballroom. If David Lynch ever makes another film he'd be well-advised to include Tropic of Cancer on the soundtrack (almost anything would be better than his own musical efforts).
The track is somewhere between the most sublime moments of Angelo Badalamenti and This Mortail Coil. It's heartbreakingly romantic and cuts straight through this listener's cynicism and jadedness in a totally captivating way. In tone it's a little reminsicent of the 80s Belgian act Snowy Red's So Blue but with infinitely more cinematic grandeur.
This is an impossible act to follow and calling the closing track It's 'All Come Undone' seems like tempting fate. It's as well produced as the others but seems more routine. The cold percussion sequence at the start suggests the track could have gone in a bleaker direction but it treads a more familiar path of electronically haunted noir Americana.
The Tropic of Cancer formula is a simple and effective one but unlike so many other fetishistic 80s re-enactments this is much more than a superficial exercise in style – it has a life of its own and introduces genuine feeling and unexpected sonic details that make it stand out from the pack.