Inspired by Moby, Devendra Banhart, all 60’s/70’s music, as well as electronic music, TobiasBlue is an Electronic Indie Pop artist who has released his 12-track album, entitled “Basic Game Theory”. This album is, for lack of a better label, simply one of 2015’s best collection of genre-bending, all-embracing musical voyages within a pop context. It is the pinnacle of electronic alternative pop, before Electro-Alt-Pop becomes too cool ot before it begins to suck. There’s not a dud on this, and each song challenges listeners in a new way. Few electro-pop icons of this day could blend this much pop culture, pop song craft, modern-day philosophy and pure noise together and not make an ugly-sounding mish mash or come off as pretentious.
It’s the least straight-ahead of anything Electro-Pop I have heard during the past year. It’s a timeless, far-reaching and fun effort by a truly eclectic, almost naïve artist, considering the courageous musical blends and arrangements that kick conformism out of the window. But that’s what makes the guy interesting – he clearly doesn’t give a monkey’s about being cool or fashionable, and it’s this refreshing eclecticism which makes this singularly odd collection one of the most under-rated albums of 2015.
Despite its sprawling nature, this is nonetheless a very accessible and remarkably consistent album. The sound is clean and poppy, smoothing off the edges of abrasiveness, weirdness and bug-eyed humor. This album shows off all the great things about TobiasBlue’s music — strange, wonderful lyrics, an eclectic musical variety, and an energy that is unparalleled. The subject matter is scattergun and unpredictable. One of the things I value the most when listening to this album is its capacity to surprise, that puzzling moment in which you grin and wonder if you’ve heard what you think you did – those tiny yet brilliant details that keep the listener on its toes wondering what will follow.
TobiasBlue does that all the time, track after track. You could move from video-game sounding dittos like “Who’d Do That To You(Electronic)” to 60s acoustic-guitar, sing-along anthems such as “Night Shadows” and “Throw Pennies at the Clown”, or crunchy electro-rock tunes like “Station”. Not to mention the ethnic-induced melody and rhythm in “Song For Her”. All throughout TobiasBlue’s signature lyrical crypticisms and off-the-cuff vocals are a perfect match for the odd-ball electro-pop that he cranks out on this album.
“Basic Game Theory” is pop in one sense, but so radical in another. It moves from pop to alternative to good old basic retro-pop influences. There are so many styles here, but all are hit on the nail. If you are the type of person who wants to hear unusual, new and exciting things – then bounding from the inventive and mercurial mind of TobiasBlue – this is definitely the album. It is a majestic, electrifying recording, full of yummy hooks and quizzical lyrics that can even be obsessing. It’s all the more appreciable, considering some of the repetitive schlock in conventional pop music today!