What's most distinctive about RR7349 is how S U R V I V E treat their synths like guitars, their drum machines like a set of Ludwigs. The ambient kosmische elements of their 2012 debut album, MNQ026 (AKA S U R V I V E), are nearly gone, taken over by the rigid rockist mentality that has always been a part of the band. If these songs owe anything to Tangerine Dream, they share that debt with the dark sides of artists like Gary Numan and Depeche Mode. "A.H.B." opens the record with its instrumental synth pop, moving between snappy verses and sweeping choruses, while tracks like "Dirt" and "Sorcerer" offset predictable structures with the tension and broad scope of soundtrack music. That type of song is RR7349's best trick, somehow inverting and enhancing its source materials at the same time.
Midway through RR7349, "Wardenclyffe" cuts back and forth from cheeky synth pop to stratospheric synth vistas, revealing how much better S U R V I V E are with the latter approach. They finally concede to their strengths in the album's second half, indulging in the thick, spooky atmosphere of "Low Fog" and the immersive arc of standout track "Copter." Much like Boards Of Canada's Tomorrow's Harvest, those songs lovingly evoke George Romero's 1985 horror classic Day Of The Dead, which has as much to do with capturing specific moods as it does using vintage sounds. For S U R V I V E, those methods are inextricably linked. When that synergy is at its peak, it matters very little what else the music might sound like.