The expression Élan Vital describes the impulse of life. The music on the debut album “Shadow Self” by Dunedin cold-wave trio Élan Vital represents that life impulse in an ambiguous zone between machine and human worlds.

A dense claustrophobic swirl of dark dance-tempo synth-pop blooms from gloomy cold industrial dance music with vocoder vocals into uplifting melodic dream-pop catharsis about memory, longing, and obsession. Élan Vital take a Gothic Dunedin angle on contemporary European cold-wave synth-pop dance music, layering it on analogue drum machines, then blending in warm psychedelic organ sounds of 1960s garage-psych rock. Distorted, overdriven bass guitar adds a further element of chaos into the mix.