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TC Superstar – One and Only (PREMIERE)

The forthcoming album from Austin synthwave act TC Superstar, R&D, promises to be a transformative moment in the trajectory of this stylish Texas based eight piece musical collective based on the quality of singles like their latest “One and Only”. Primary songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist Connor McCampbell boasts a fertile musical and visual imagination, to be sure, but her collaborators in TC Superstar, such as Mitchell Webb and Aaron Chavez, bring a great deal to the table as well in the band’s efforts to forge something uniquely their own in an increasingly cookie cutter musical landscape.

The synthesizer lines possess a distinctly theatrical quality without ever sounding forced or overly sterile. This, in and of itself, is an accomplishment in a form often rightly criticized for embracing technology over feeling, but TC Superstar does an excellent job of investing the electronic aspects of their presentation with a great deal of warmth while also providing listeners with a sharp contrast between the cutting synth sounds and McCampbell’s sensitive vocals. He is ably supported by female backing vocals, but his voice remains near the forefront of the mix throughout the entirety of this near five minute song. The track builds from a somewhat subdued beginning into something much grander as it progresses and the chorus, in particular, lingers long after the last note fades.

The lyrical content has cinematic touches as well. The song’s opening line depicting its primary subject driving through the Arizona night is suggestive without ever coming off overwrought and sets the stage for what follows. The overall subject matter of the track is a familiar one for listeners, the emotional tug of war before two lovers when one isn’t quite ready or not ready at all to match the other’s level of commitment, and McCampbell’s songwriting deserves credit for refusing to mine the subject matter for potential clichés. Instead, it relies on direct conversational eloquence instead and speaks to listeners in a straight forward manner free of dross or extraneous self-indulgence.

The song’s accompanying video is a minor masterpiece of visual flair. It is obvious this facet of the band’s presentation is an important component in what they do once you’ve noted the playful imagery, the use of color, costume, and props. There is a risk of self indulgence present in such a video, but you get no sense of that watching this video. Instead, the video exudes confidence and benefits from a level of polish and vision uncommon with such acts.

Both the song and video will serve as an excellent introduction for newcomers to TC Superstar’s talents. Based on this offering alone, synthwave fans can be assured R&D will rate among the best releases in this style to emerge in some time and even those unfamiliar with the genre will be hard pressed to deny the innate pop song talents behind the composition and performance. TC Superstar’s “One and Only” is a truly singular effort certain to satisfy manner and deserves to generate a great deal of enthusiasm for their forthcoming release.

John McCall

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