When Saints Go Machine
May 28, 2013 Web Exclusive
Infinity Pool is just as deep and bottomless a record as its title suggests. Layered, textural synths and hollow, hip-hop-indebted backbeats are the calling card of this Danish four-piece; while the band's sound here is as chaotically multifaceted as ever, it also represents some of their most cohesive and comprehensible music to date.
Interestingly, the first sound of flesh and blood heard on Infinity Pool is not the warble of Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild's trademark falsetto, but OutKast collaborator Killer Mike slurring the lines: "love and respect for my peers, love and respect for my peers." Letting another artist have free-reign over the opening line of a record is a statement that's either bold or diffident depending on context, but when it's paired with the effortlessly freewheeling backdrop of "Love and Respect," you're in no doubt that When Saints Go Machine know what they're doing. It's a trend that continues, with the band's confidence hardly dwindling throughout.
Infinity Pool contains some of the most immediately accessible and infallibly addictive songs that the band have ever produced—the record is full of wonky, glistening pop anthems. "Iodine" pounds relentlessly forwards with increasing gravitas, while "System of Unlimited Love" is allowed to sit back in its urbane groove. It's a record built for the festival crowd, and its choruses are designed to be sung en masse. That said, we shouldn't mistake its assertiveness for jubilance—if there is a certain optimism, then it's refracted through the band's unique lens before it reaches the listener (something that is hardly helped by Vonsild's incomprehensibly processed vocals).
Infinity Pool sounds like a transmission from another galaxy entirely, but one that's coming over a faulty line, and we can't be sure what it is the band are saying—the music is utterly absorbing, but its message remains unclear. (www.whensaintsgomachine.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10