The album's title track, released on Soundcloud over four months ago, also felt like a departure. Simonetti's trademark '80s nostalgia was still present, but this wasn't merely an Italo throwback record. Its strong vocal hook balanced his cheesier side with a pleasant melancholy. In fact, there wasn't anything really dance floor about it at all, especially considering this was a lead single. It seemed safe to say that the album was going to have a fairly wide scope.
The album opens with that track, and stays strong for a good while. "The Scars," a hazy shoegaze number, follows nicely. "Distance To The Waves" offsets a techno thud and an Italo bassline. "Mia" returns to the dream-pop template, albeit briefly.
But that's when things start to go wrong. "Tougher" feels like Innervisions-lite, or something DJ Koze would make on an off day, with a hackneyed vocal line that sits out of place. "The Math" is as standard disco-house as they come. "One Last Thing," while potentially a nice track to hear out, has a pumping bassline straight off whatever preset UK deep house producers have been using the past few years.
The album is a ultimately a disappointment, but it has its moments nonetheless. Simonetti's ear for a vocal, his pop sensibility and his love of epic breakdowns redeem the record somewhat, even when they are just short sketches. If Simonetti had more faith in his songwriting ability, The Past We Leave Behind could have been great.