Remember how I wrote in my recent State Azure review that if you put some cosmic imagery on your album cover, then I’m probably going to check it out? Well, if Knight Sabers’ short, sweet Ephemeral Love EP is any indication, then the same holds true for vintage-looking animé imagery.
(And I’d have to turn in my nerd card if I didn’t point out the group’s moniker, a reference to the mecha-enhanced female mercenaries in Youmex’s classic cyberpunk animé series Bubblegum Crisis.)
So yeah, Ephemeral Love is “Grade A” synthwave/future funk à la Macross 82 – 99 and Opus Science Collective. Or in keeping with the animé theme, you can easily imagine Sylia, Priss, and the rest of the Sabers clubbing to these songs after a hard day of fighting boomers in the streets of Mega Tokyo. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just go watch an episode or two of Bubblegum Crisis.)
Knight Sabers’ (the group, not the animé mercenaries) Jaqueline Ruther and Klasey Jones know how to create head-bobbing tunes replete with slick disco grooves and arpeggios, Daft Punk-ish vocals (“Party People”), gossamery guitars (“Ephemeral Love”), and even cyber-delic woodwinds (“Dance”).
But the EP’s secret weapon is guest vocalist Nina Pulimood, particularly on the title track. Her voice possesses a coyness and playfulness that brings to mind Grimes’ best moments, but mixed with a soulful yearning that elevates “Ephemeral Love” to become more than just a mere (though still extremely catchy) animé-influenced synthwave jam.