Drop Shadow is the new album from New Zealand native Luke Rowell, and his first release under the Eyeliner name since 2015’s Buy Now (Beer on the Rug). The album is filled with highly composed MIDI pop music that covers a range of mood and emotion, from the uplifting Vince DiCola-esque opener to the beautiful digital vocal “ahh”s that merge into crashing waves at the end of “Keep Calm”. Rowell is using the language of instrumental dance and pop to express multiple themes, the first being personal loss and caring for a sick loved one, as reflected on the suite of songs from “Contact” to “Carry On”. At the albums center these songs form a sort of emotional core that also reframe lighter pieces like “Coffee News” as mini respites along the way.
Drop Shadow also explores Rowell’s fascination with American and Japanese music culture and their many intersections, most evident to me on the upbeat “Drop Shadow” which utilizes the Korg Wavestatoion and M1 VST (which is the highest selling synth of all time in its hardware form) and lands somewhere between early house music, a Madonna instrumental, and something from a Nintendo 64 soundtrack.