Get your all-black dancing outfit ready: The Foreign Resort has released their latest dark new wave/post punk album, New Frontiers. The band, formed in 2006, hails from Copenhagen, Denmark and is made up of Mikkel B. Jakobsen (vocals/guitar/bass,) Henrik Fischlein (guitar/bass,) and Morten Hansen (drums/vocals.) Nearly every older comparison I thought of for this band was also listed among their influences on their website, including Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, The Cure, and Joy Division. The Foreign Resort takes the sounds of their influencers and combine them together, adding more industrial and post-punk elements than synth to their brand of new wave. They’ve nailed the dramatic yet danceable sound that has powered alternative radio stations’ Saturday night playlists for years.
There’s a Nine Inch Nails-esque sound to most of the album, one that may be linked to producer John Fryer (who has worked with NIN and the Cocteau Twins.) “Flushed,” one of the singles off of the album, has a strong industrial, NIN feel; it also brings to mind Editors, especially “Munich.” Jakobsen’s vocals are passionate and carry emotion well, while conveying a certain power. Though his vocals can soar, he also commands an authority like the lead singer of Editors. “Alone” and “Quiet Again” are Cure-like (if The Cure was on steroids in the case of “Quiet.”) The guitars get so jangly on some songs (notably “Alone” and “New Frontiers”) that Johnny Marr comes to mind. “Landslide” has the jangly guitar, but at points sounds like the guitar is bending in the most dynamic of ways. Frankly, the guitar is the most interesting thing in this song, taking attention from the vocals and the quick beat. It’s a dark, powerful song that is ready for an alternative night club. “Breaking Apart” has the energy of a Bravery song with a much richer sound. “Dark White” has such fast drums it might actually raise your heart rate, and the echo-y guitar gives the track the perfect hint of creepiness. The band considers themselves to be post-punk in addition to new wave and they are some subtle elements that support this. There’s slight distortion in the background of a few songs and the guitar sometimes takes the spotlight off of the vocals, but this is definitely a new wave album. An edgy, angry new wave album.
Though the songs have a dance beat, the lyrics are angsty and dark. We’re not talking She Wants Revenge-dark, but the track listing is dominated by downer titles like “Dead End Roads,” “Breaking Apart,” “Alone,” “Dead Leaves,” and “Landslide.” The closest thing to a love song is called “Breaking Apart” and goes “you are my downfall, you are my star, you fit perfectly into my heart.” Not too flowery. “Alone” gets right to the emo feels with “does she know her words are tearing you apart?” “Quiet Again” has the most hopeful sound on the album, but the lyrics include “Dive into my misery world, it’s my hour of need.” So you know, it’s definitely Cure-inspired and NIN-inspired. Sometimes we all need to dance and feel gloomy at the same time.
I may be biased since I never fully outgrew my Cure and NIN years, and I do enjoy new wave on the regular, but I’ve found very little to fault this album over. It’s well-produced, the songs are radio-friendly, the band is talented, and they’ve put together a strong, catchy album. There is no filler among the nine tracks. I believe that “Landslide” is going to be stuck in my head for most of the foreseeable future. Expect to hear them on your local alternative radio station’s club night soon.