Synth-pop is sort of the illegitimate child of alternative rock and disco. Although it’s not obvious, its roots like in experimental forms of music like krautrock and post-punk. As new wave splintered further and further away from punk, and added more and more synthesizers, synth-pop was being birthed. In the mainstream, acts as diverse as Kraftwerk, New Order, and Pet Shop Boys were solidifying the sound. I loved 90s synth-pop, or simply “techno” as we called it then. It was fun and danceable, dark and poppy, all at the same time.
Painted Orange hailed from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The group released 2 (or maybe 3?) cassette demos, which showed a real strength of musicality and lyricism. It was similar to late 80s Depeche Mode or a darker Information Society, but the band clearly had their own sound. Based on the strength of those demos, they signed with Star Song and released Painted Orange in 1991. Unfortunately, much of the raw grit that made their independent demos so charming was polished out through over-production on the label debut. Nonetheless, the strength of the songs is still present. They returned 5 years later for Out of Egypt released via Salt Incorporated Music.
“You Walked” has always been my favorite track from the eponymous debut, for reasons both musical and lyrical. The layered keyboard riffs, and the hard dance beats hit just right, and the lyrics speak of the effort Christ makes in pursuing us (as opposed to the other way around):
You walked to me
You rescued me
I’m in Your arms now forever