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Synthwave EP Review: "A Road Only We Know" by SAROS-FM

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.


Initial Impressions

SAROS-FM’s EP A Road Only We Know showcases an evolution of synthwave sounds. It moves through many different moods and musical feelings, exploiting the sonic characteristics of synths and how they can express and explore just as much range as acoustic instruments. There are bright flashes of light, gentle ear-caressing sounds and melodies that are full of expression on this EP.

One thing that SAROS-FM does well is using synths to evoke moods. He has a knack for pairing up the right synth with the right melody, arpeggio or other sound to convey feeling and atmosphere. Despite the inherently synthetic nature of the music, there is a feeling of natural flow in the way the melodies and harmonies unfold on A Road Only We Know.

Melodic writing is another forte on this EP. SAROS-FM is able to craft melodies that are easy on the ear, drawing the listener in with their engaging qualities. There is a also a certain delicacy to the work that adds a sensation of lightness and flow to the music. I also felt that the melodies with a more melancholy quality were particularly effective on this EP.

The use of the drums on A Road Only We Know was also strong. The rhythms and energetic nature of the percussive elements added a heartbeat and flow to the tracks that really anchored them and gave the whole EP a feeling of movement that was enjoyable and engaging.

Track By Track Analysis

“Flaming Embers” created a feeling of growth and intertwining as soft washes of synth sound came in cascading waves and a pattern began to grow out of those rising synths, building energy into the track. I was pulled in by the flying, dancing melody that cries out from the shimmering lead synth and underneath it all the beat beat keeps on pulsing as the higher elements sing above it. I also liked how the lead synth solo toward the end has a spinning, leaping quality to it.

There’s an interesting surging quality to the music in “Hot Fuzz” with its slow, steady pulses of synth. The well-written melody that comes in has a delicacy and smoothness to it as it sings over the easy beat of the track. This is a soothing song indeed with light and air abounding in the piece. There are drum fills that accelerate the track at crucial points which seems to work well. I was also taken by the gently rising thermals of synth chords that lift the track and the overall brightness and glow of this piece of music.

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“Ark” has a classic driving synthwave beat that propels it onward along with synths that are tinged with darkness as the track opens. I was a fan of the sunbursts of bright synth and spinning arpeggios that move through the music. The lead synth plays a hopeful, exultant melody over the relentless throb of the beat that launches the music forward. I also like how gentle, soft synths that move with elegance along with that caressing melody that opens the track.

I was pulled in by the rather unique warm synth on “Winter’s Call” along with the pulsating, driving beat. A high, tight synth pattern moves through the music in contrast to the main melody which is full of the soothing feeling of being enfolded by a caring embrace and lightly and lovingly held. There’s a measure of something a little melancholy in this melody that adds to its poignancy and the overall emotional tenor of this track.


SAROS-FM’s combination of solid synth choices, engaging melodies and an overall good “vibe” makes A Road Only We Know an EP with which I could feel relaxed and comfortable. I hope we get to hear more of this style of music from this artist in the future.

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