The People’s Record
May 18, 2010 Issue #31 - Spring 2010 - Joanna Newsom
Since 1996, Club 8 have been churning out sophisticated pop in their native Sweden with nary a Stateside accolade. (Anyone? Anyone?) For The People's Record—their seventh—the duo (Karolina Komstedt and Johan Angergård) have expanded their melodic sonic pallet with traces of Afro-pop, bossa nova, and South American jazz. The result is a warmly inviting album that's as sweet as it is cleverly composed.
Not ones to shy away from melancholy, nearly ever track is crafted with a coolly detached air—every bright instrumental flourish or lighthearted refrain tempered by Komstedt's sorrowful voice (a kissing cousin to fellow Swede Victoria Bergsman). Even when challenged by the complex instrumentation of up-tempo tracks such as "Shape Up!" or "Western Hospitality," Komstedt remains perfectly composed—the juxtaposition between singer and instrumentation lending her vocals an otherworldly resonance.
This isn't to say Angergård and Komstedt are without joy. Quite the opposite. Slyly subversive, some of their most maudlin sentiments are underscored by a newfound love for dance beats made the old-fashioned way—by an actual drummer. "We're All Going to Die" features not only pounding drums but a brass section, proving that if you've got to end it all, you might as well do so dancing. Komstedt may lament about "When friends give up on you when everyone has heard your story twice" in "My Pessimistic Heart," but its soaring chorus and minimal chord verses prove to be the best antidote to troubles. The U.S. may not be talking, but having successfully dipped into several different cultures, it's clear that Club 8 is more than capable of bringing the world to them. (www.myspace.com/club8)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 10/10
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