New York City-based duo Peter Schuette (ex-Silk Flowers, ex-Psychobuildings) and James Elliott (ex-Bear In Heaven, ex-School of Seven Bells) describe their Test House sound as “synthetic pop with a human heart. ” That serves as a pretty good starting point for capturing the type of vocal-based electronic-pop heard on their Spirit Rebate EP.
“Days Deep” inaugurates the release by accompanying Schuette's ultra-smooth voice with an arrangement heavy on Tarkus-styled Moog-synthesizers, handclaps, and old-school drum programming. Elliott's serpentine bass pulse gives “Flooded” a low-end throb, while, goosed by thick synth stabs, the title track also traffics in a funky brand of synth-pop. Electric guitars add a raw edge to some songs (e.g., “Wild Ride Over”) in a way that connects the Test House sound more directly to the members' former bands.
On this digital-only, twenty-two-minute follow-up to a recent seven-inch on the Geographic North label, the duo's five songs occasionally call to mind Tears For Fears, ABC, and Duran Duran, even if Schuette's vocal delivery is a tad less distinctive than Simon LeBon's (less mannered, if you prefer). Don't get the wrong idea, however: while those bands' roots are in the ‘80s, Test House delivers its material in a high-energy manner befitting the modern-day descendant.