Monday, 7 November 2011

The Sound of Arrows - Voyage

If you've heard any of the previous tracks from The Sound of Arrows that we've featured on Popsiculture, you'll probably be well aware that they have a fairly specific sound. Not everybody will like them - I realise that - but those who do, I'd imagine, will probably really really love the combination of typically Swedish vocals and space-age electronic instrumentals.

Some songs on Voyage, the new album, would make great dancefloor fillers - and some even sound like boy-band album tracks, to be totally honest - but others are soaring, sound-rich compositions that create a whole new world centred on your eardrums.

Voyage (Bonus Track Version) - The Sound of Arrows

High Points

I don't think it's possible to pick out a single high point from Voyage - Stefan Storm's music and Oskar Gullstrand's mini-movies that accompany The Sound of Arrows' single releases are works of perfection, each as good as the next.

So instead, I'll give this piece of advice - if you're a fan of bass, try something different for once. Blow the dust off of your treble knob and crank it up a little further than your usual comfort zone.

Voyage's entrancing electronic motifs are at their best in the upper frequency range, almost injecting audio into the very pattern of your brain waves. Turn up the treble, crank the volume, slip on some top-quality headphones or hook up to your 'good' speakers, and feel the outside world fade away from the first moments of Track One.

The Verdict

You may have guessed that I'm on the 'love' side of the The Sound of Arrows debate, if one exists. They're like a modern-day Pet Shop Boys, with every ounce of musical quality the 21st century has to offer.

Their compositions go beyond anything the Pet Shop Boys put out though, in terms of sheer fullness of sound. Your senses are swamped with audio information, bundles of music that hit you in a near-digital delivery. It's electronic at its best, proof that synthesisers don't have to sound old-fashioned or cheap.

Critics may claim that The Sound of Arrows are a dance pop act, but I don't think they're as mass-market as they may first seem. Rather, they occupy a niche that manages to spill over into mass appeal simply because, at the end of the day, everybody can appreciate something when it's done this well.

Final Score: 92%

Lasting Impression

Sometimes in this job, you get an album to review that you just can't put into words. If words alone could do the trick, you wouldn't need the music. With Voyage, you need the music.

I just caught myself summing it up in an email in a way that deserves repeating here:

"Every time I'm not listening to The Sound of Arrows, I forget that when I am listening to The Sound of Arrows, my mind goes all blank and serene, apart from the solitary thought 'The Sound of Arrows are fucking incredible'."
Yep, that about says it.

Voyage (Bonus Track Version) - The Sound of Arrows

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