Causeway & R. Missing Collaborate For Mesmerizing New Dreampop Single

With “Wear The Night Out”, the two music projects invite us to a retro-futuristic world of underground cool.

For their new single “Wear The Night Out”, US synthpop group Causeway teamed up with dark electronic act R. Missing. Formed by Allison Rae and Marshall Watson, Causeway has been developing a distinctive sound behind the scenes for a while now. They have previously covered acts as divergent as New Order and Madonna and are currently signed to the independent music label Italians Do It Better.

With synthpop, especially with a focus on airy vocals or layered harmonies, there is the ever-present risk that sounds may start blurring together. Unless you’re particularly creative with rhythm, concept, and melody, differentiating tracks is one of the biggest challenges for artists within the genre. If it’s classic synthpop an artist is going for, there isn’t the chance to play with driving noise to grab one’s attention that there is in genres like industrial or coldwave. Looking back at the 80s, what made groups like New Order, Depeche Mode, and Duran Duran so successful was that their melodic lines managed to hook their fans and make every track pop out due to the level of variability. 

Causeway has taken a different route but ended up in the same place with “Wear the Night Out”. Without wanting to immediately go for earworm-laden pop songwriting, they’ve instead opted to shift their focus on beat and arrangement. This gave them a much more low-key, underground cool than if they had tried to do this with the topline. 

The track is based around a rhythmic, retro-futuristic synth riff that is stitched together by single, pulsing drumbeats. This gives way to lush pads and a chorus melody that works with the backing instrumentals, sliding skilfully in and out of it via Sharon Shy’s capable and distinctive voice. There is a contrast between the gritty, sparse arrangements of the verses and the built-up sound in the chorus. Perfect pop lyrics overlay all this with a sense of metaphor and poetry that makes them just artsy enough to entice while still remaining relatable. 

One can also hear the definite influence of their collaborator for the track, R. Missing, the music project of New York-based Sharon Shy. Tracks like “Unsummering” for example have a slightly dystopian, fragmented, and more experimental bent to them than the work of Causeway. “Wear the Night Out” is half dark and gritty, synth-based and drum fuelled sonic bursts of atmosphere and half really listenable synthpop. What’s most successful about it is that it combines the two of these seamlessly. In fact, it uses contrast as a glue that makes the track stand out without adhering to conventional pop tactics. As a result, the track is a really smart and exciting musical venture, approaching well-loved ideas from a fresh, sideways perspective. 

In the context of their previous work, “Wear the Night Out” makes for a really exciting development in their career. The band’s label, Italians Do It Better has consistently encouraged their endeavors and seen them become a firm classic at their headquarters. It’s clear that Rae and Watson are ambitious and innovative with their own personal take on the genre, while still keeping in mind that great synthpop should be a place for the spontaneous feelings that are present throughout all their work. However, with its bolder sounds and the twists in its approach, does this new single indicate a development further in the duo’s sound towards something slightly darker? 

Only time will tell. However, either way, the new track has a knack for hooking you with its beat, just like its classic influences, whilst still giving you chills with both Sharon Shy’s and Allison Rae’s idiosyncratic vocals, and it’s hugely exciting to see where the duo will go from here. 

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Causeway (US)

Featured Image by Khoa Anh Nguyen

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