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Azure Blue Beneath The Hill I Smell The Sea Fika Recordings/ Hybris
Article written by
Ged M - Jun 25, 2015
I must have missed the memo that said all releases should sound like the soundtrack for a John Hughes movie. It was clearly delivered to Tobias Isaksson in Stockholm though. Beneath the Hill... has a pure 80s sound, augmented in some places by a dance beat and overlaid with vocals delivered in a Scandinavian whisper. ‘A Town Like Alice’ has inherited the synth and drum machine patterns that once belonged to Berlin’s ‘Take My Breath Away’ as well as the sense of longing and heartache in the lyrics. Elsewhere, there are hints of New Order and Prefab Sprout while ‘Tragedy and Changes’ has a touch of modern disco to go with the electronic rhythms.
The strangest song is the 80s pop treatment of Robert Forster’s ‘Justice’, which boosts the sense of melody of the original (a good thing) and then layers all sorts of instruments and effects on the song, making it a little sickly. Overall, there’s the wistful Scandi-charm that seems to imbue every record from that part of Northern Europe but the retro 80s vibe is quickly offputting.