Review: Retrolux Release Stunning New Track "Dial Tone"

Fresh off of a music video premiere for their track “W/O U”, Gainesville-based band Retrolux dropped their latest single “Dial Tone” today, and here at Suburban Rose, we can't stop playing it. The song, an infectious ode to the woes of technology and loneliness, tells a modern break-up story set to a smooth electro-pop that makes listening all the more enjoyable. For a band already making waves within their genre, “Dial Tone” is a sign of even more exciting things to come from Retrolux.

Some of the song’s most noteworthy features are found in its production. Their electronic sound is streamlined, with several prominent synths making up the majority of the instrumentals. The song pushes and pulls the listener, masterfully mirroring the conflict in the lyrics. That artificial pulse that it creates is reminiscent of the production techniques of groups like Sir Sly and Cut Copy, meeting somewhere in the middle to create melancholy, driving beats.

Of course, mixed into the orchestration of synths and drums are the ever-present retro telephone and internet sounds. The dial-up noises for which the track is named punctuate the stunning silence between lines, while the later subtle samples of text alerts and ringtones tie in the old and new. The result is a song that blends the real world with that of the music, creating an encapsulating work of art that entrances listeners from beginning to end.

Lyrically, “Dial Tone” is equally moving. Describing the fear and desperation of trying to reconnect with lost love, singer Anna James croons that “I wanna delete you / I feel like I need you / shouldn’t keep you around / you hold me down.” The references to modern technology- for example, in a line describing being “at 1%” or mentions of charging phones- bring an edge to the track, daring to embrace the ever-changing modes of communication instead of regressing back to universal constants. This risk pays off beautifully; the delivery of even the simplest lines is so transparently emotional, so willing to be vulnerable and expressive that you can’t help but empathize. That sort of natural connection made with listeners is hard to find elsewhere, but to hear it as a primary motif of the song is even rarer and all the more impactful.

It seems that with “Dial Tone,” Retrolux have only followed their upward trajectory. The attention to detail throughout the track is impeccable. That, along with the band’s enthusiastic local follower base and numerous, equally successful singles, has only made it more apparent that the duo is one to watch; they’re sure to be big hitmakers as they continue to come up with more well-polished electro-pop.


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