Poke – “Pretender”

Poke has resurfaced with the single and music video for “Pretender”, to bring fans of industrial synth rock, and gothic guitar tones, another taste of their eccentric and unique style, creating a dark and dramatic aftertaste that will keep you coming back for more. Poke is the definition of an acquired taste, always creating a gritty yet sophisticated sound.  Poke is a musical project started in 2017 by music producer and sound engineer, Armando Doval, founding member of the band phoenix/NEBULIN. The single, “Pretender”, is taken from the critically acclaimed album, “Manipulator”.

“Pretender” immediately providing an ominous and cinematic soundscape that begins to chip away at the senses with its resonant synths and kinetic basslines. Soon Poke’s enigmatic sounds create a sonic lashing that few will recover from.

The heaviness sets in to take on a deliciously twisted gothic tone colored with alternative rock urgency. As things develop further, it all gets louder and more intense. On top, the lead vocals soar between highflying melody and low voiced growls.

Poke’s music is a glorious explosion of synth and guitar goodness that is as exciting as it is both nostalgic and innovative. But what makes “Pretender” stand out is that it flows wonderfully, going from hard-hitting attacks to an almost hypnotic cadence.

The track already does an amazing job of hooking the listener in, but then the video proves that Poke is not only back with amazing music but that he’s matured and grown in his entire creative approach, bringing far more to the table than one would have imagined.

There is an incredible balance of making the track feel heavy and aggressive while having it be melodic and totally catchy at the same time. Production wise, “Pretender” is very dynamic and polished. Each bit of nuance is captured perfectly and mixed just right to still give the listener a reward for discovering all of its sonic elements.

There is a great interplay between the expanding synths and the bombastic guitars. This is a project that clearly has a lot of thought behind it, which is fantastic as it leads to a well-crafted and enjoyable experience.

Each instrument, each tone, each drum hit, does something interesting, as Poke skillfully weaves a track that is intricate and absolutely fascinating. “Pretender” is one of those tracks that you return to over and over, and find something new each time. The underlying narrative and evocative atmosphere, is immediate and engaging, and should appeal to anyone who loves the edgy dark synth-rock sound that Poke has honed to excellence.

Both, the music and the video, brings to the forefront one of Poke’s greatest strengths, namely, crafting sounds, melodies and atmospheres that are highly mood-inducing, transporting the listener directly into his singular and affecting vision.

There is something certainly left of center about Poke which is wonderful when stacked up against the number of acts attempting to go for a similar sound. Overall, “Pretender” absolutely succeeds in every one of its multiple sonic and visual facets.


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