You’ll struggle to find a less Russian band than Tesla Boy out there — and the act’s second release, “The Universe Made of Darkness,” rather confirms that point. Far from evoking the traditional notion of a lyrical poet with a guitar and lashing of mysterious Russian soul, Tesla Boy has a slick, glossy synth-pop sheen, living in a world where it’s permanently an iPad app for 1985. And yet, somehow, the music isn’t as ghastly as it sounds. OK, sure, there’s not much depth. The lyrics on tracks like “Fantasy” are banal beyond belief — and singing in English reinforces that point to international audiences. But, as the band itself insists, their art is not to create deep lyrics but to write music which people can respond to, sing along to, dance to. Depth and sophistication aren’t part of that game, stonking melodies and high production values are. Consequently we have a strong festival band, often heard in support of visiting acts (most recently supporting Two-Door Cinema Club last month) and touring widely beyond Russia’s borders (including gigs in Mexico earlier this year).
This material appears in the latest edition of Element magazine
Tesla Boy plugs the new album at Reka (m. Kropotkinskaya, in the Krasny Oktyabr complex) on Saturday, June 15. Showtime is 11pm.