There is no faster way to move to the front of my review line here at Chain D.L.K. than sending me vinyl. For me, vinyl trumps all other formats and shows me that you're seriously committed about making and preserving your music because it's expensive to produce, often sounds better (than CD, digital download, cassette, etc.) and will likely not be forgotten in a month or two. That being said, this limited edition white vinyl record is already sold out on the Fellowshipwreck website (just released Feb. 1, 2021), even though I only received it yesterday. Oh well, too bad. Maybe they'll press more copies...someday. On to the band and its music though.
Nite Risk is two dudes from Denton, Texas, just four and a half hours north of that other Texas synth duo, Hyperbubble. These guys are nothing like Hyperbubble though, and that's not a bad thing; we only need one band like Jess & Jeff DeCuir's outfit. Nite Risk's brand of synthosity is more akin to Cold Wave, although they describe themselves as dark synth/electropop. From the one-sheet they sent with the album- "Nite Risk sing of uneasiness and hope. They keep things simple using only synthesizers, a drum machine, and haunting voices from the past. Imagine Depeche Mode walking castle halls by candlelight or Midnight Juggernauts taking their horses from a canter to a gallop and you will get the idea."
So there's an admitted goth element I guess (even though these guys don't really look goth), but I'm still going with Cold Wave. The synth sounds and synthwork (as well as the drum machine) is old, old school, like early '80s; quite simple, thick in most places (nearly sludgy at times) and the synth sounds are uber-familiar. As for the vocals, I am definitely reminded of pre-'Dare' Human League, and some of the acts on the British Some Bizzare label. The recording sounds fairly lo-fi, but it does work for this kind of music. There are 10 tracks of mostly upbeat songs with vocals, and the vocalist has a good voice for this type of material, strong and distinctive. (Think Phil Oakley crossed with Peter Murphy, but a little more of the former than the latter.) I don't know if they under-mixed the drum machine on purpose, but the synths definitely override the rhythm taking a bit away from the album's danceability, lacking some punch. I doubt these guys had EDM in their minds anyway, so maybe that doesn't make much of a difference. While there seem to be no "instant hits" with super-infectious hooks, some of the songs are likely to grow on you over time, such as "Life Dreams," "Deja Vu," and "Sign of the Times." The last couple of tracks are a little draggy but I think the band was going more for atmosphere than anything else on them.
I did notice that the vinyl sounded a bit murkier than the digital album, but that's not surprising. Perhaps Nite Risk might benefit from covering a classic Cold Wave song (such as Kraftwerk's "Showroom Dummies"; Human League's "Only After Dark"; Norma Loy's "Shiny Dream"; B-Movie's "Nowhere Girl"; or Signal Aout 42's "Dead is Calling," to name a few). I think there are a few darkwave/electropop oriented radio stations in Germany that would eat this stuff up and readily add it to their playlists. (I've been listening to a lot of world radio lately; definitely better than U.S. radio.) The album artwork by Pioneers of the New Idea is also rather interesting, although I don't see much connection with the music. I only wish (for your sake) they weren't sold out of the vinyl, but Nite Risk are still worth checking out anyway.