A fair share of Nordic-rock love has been showered down upon the Icelandic unit Of Monsters and Men lately, culminating in their appearance on Saturday Night Live. With their most recent album of euphoric electro-pop, Club 8 has shown that there is room enough for more than one Scandinavian darling. The Swedish duo’s latest release, Above the City, demonstrates a diversity in sound while still luring a listener into a haze, one they can’t help but awake from satisfied.
An impressive quality of Club 8 is their ability to shift sounds with such a scant outfit. “Stop Taking My Time” might have you thinking this group is the modern incarnation of Blondie, while the very next track, “You Could Be Anybody” sounds like it was ripped straight from the soundtrack from Drive. They also more than adequately layer their songs with background instrumentation and vocals, creating a dream-like wave of sound that a listener would be foolish to fight. This phenomenon is best demonstrated in the slow build of “Kill Kill Kill,” complete with huge, block chords from an organ fit for The Phantom of the Opera.
Lyrically, Above the City seems to be a person dealing with an identity crisis in blissful abstraction. “I’m Not Gonna Grow Old” contains no subtleties in its message, but is dealt with delicately with rhythm guitar, sentimental high strings, and the airy, saccharine voice of singer Karolina Komstedt. “Travel” similarly harps on this theme of not quite knowing where life is taking you, but this time in a grim, electric organ-driven plea.
In making something complex out of many simple parts, Club 8 has outperformed any expectation that one would make from seeing the list of band members. In doing so, they have created a reverie out of self-reflection that is hard not to be enchanted by.