It was nice to see Seven Layer Piano Cakes reach the top of our review pile today with his latest single, Endgame. We previously reviewed his single, Remy. Seven Layer Piano Cakes is the musical project of Justin Hoyt, an LA based attorney and law professor. He is a classically trained pianist who clearly enjoys writing and creating music that is a throw back to earlier eras – especially the 80s from what we’ve heard so far.
Endgame takes a different turn and introduces a female vocalist, VRL, as co-vocals on the track which adds a new dimension to Seven Layer Piano Cakes music.
Endgame is a song about the end of a long term relationship and the complexities and heartache that ensue.
We like the low pass sweep at the start of the song – a nice touch and, like Remy, Endgame has a touch of 80s synth pop to it. Perhaps some Depeche Mode influences.
The instrumentation throughout is very electronic sounding with a lot of things happening with some interesting effects. When VRL joins the song, her vocals aren’t so much co-vocals as taking the lead a little. There’s a different reverb on her voice which pushes her vocal further forward. Something about this means that the vocals don’t quite sit together as a dual vocal harmony line, but more as a lead and backing. VRL has a pleasant, almost country sounding voice, and as her bio says, there’s definitely a touch of Taylor Swift in her voice. So if you’re trying to get a feel for what this song sounds like without listening first – think Taylor Swift taking a time machine back to a 1980s electro jam.
Endgame feels to us as though it may be a good song to be considered for a sync deal. It feels as though it would work well in a TV show, perhaps in the background at the end of a relationship, or perhaps a similar difficult relationship situation.
Endgame is a little let down by the mix of the track. The overall master looks OK and feels fine, but we think a shake up of the mix would make some huge changes to this track. There’s some very dominating frequencies in the mids – especially in the droning synths that feel as if they should be further in the background than they are. Perhaps a little reverb on them and some work on removing the dominating frequencies will help to balance things out a little more.
Endgame is a dark and intense duet of two skilled vocalists performing a new song that sounds fresh out of the 80s. We’re very interested to see what Seven Layer Piano Cakes produces next – he always keeps us on our toes.