Review by TunedLoud
Andrew Hetherington is an Australian songwriter, who writes retrowave songs and instrumental music. Although his roots are firmly placed in mainstream music, he draws inspiration from many different lyrical and musical influences. “My style is eclectic. I can write a pop song today, and next a beautiful instrumental melody will come out of me,” says Andrew, “and I’ll be wondering: where did that come from?” He has collaborated with other artists in the production of his recordings including Australian singer Snez, American vocalist Sammy Pawlak and Canadian guitarist Paul Kinman. Music is not a new passion for Andrew Hetherington, who started playing the guitar from the age of 12. Although for most of his adult life he has held different jobs, music was never far from his mind. “I always knew it was a matter of time until I started to write my own songs, I can be driving my car or lying in bed when the lyrics or music suddenly pops into my head out of nowhere,” explained Andrew.
Written and produced by Andrew Hetherington, “Life Is Strange” concerns itself with life’s iconic ups and downs, and features Sammy Pawlak on vocals. Chances are good that if you’re coming to this track now, it’s probably by way of other retrowave music.
That’s perfectly awesome because I love a lot of the bands and musicians associated with that scene and movement but I feel the need to say this track in particular stands out. Yes, all of those melodic nostalgia hooks are there but the production values and cinematic scope of the music reach a point where Andrew Hetherington isn’t just referencing his influences, but actually building upon and expanding them.
These days I’ve been driving around listening to vaporwave, synthwave and retrowave. The resurgence of gated reverb in pop music has got me, and just about everyone I know, on that 80’s aesthetic. It’s that perfect balance between beats with impact and effervescent, otherworldly synths and fiery guitar motifs.
Andrew Hetherington has weaved those elements into “Life Is Strange”, alongside powerful vocals and a relatable narrative. The lyrics are grounded, instead of spewing nonsense like some retrowave tracks are currently around, and the vocals have this ache to them that immediately finds its way under your skin.
This obviously won’t be up everyone’s alley, but if you’ve been on any sort of retro kick, this will end up being, without question, one of your favorites in the genre. This track has all the awesome rhythmic grooves and tones that you might find on any great retrowave composition, but also adds stellar vocals and just the right amount of screaming electric guitar.
I’m plunged back into the source era every time I listen to “Life Is Strange”. Though saturated in that retro 80’s vibe, it has such a strong, innovative execution. Beautiful vocal harmonies, catchy melody, as well as immaculate dynamics and mood.
As this track runs out, you’re baited into listening again. The bottom line is, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you have any interest in retrowave at all, and don’t have “Life Is Strange” by Andrew Hetherington on your playlist.