November 3, 2011
Review: The Sound of Arrows' Voyage
In the game of pop music referencing, Sweden's The Sound of Arrows might be "Pet Shop Boys seated with Vangelis and a children's choir in a cathedral pew." Whether that sounds epic or dire is down to you, but there's no doubt that Voyage is a strong debut. Aside from the vehemently Neil Tennant-y Ruins Of Rome, it only takes a few plays to forget those other artists and hear The Sound of Arrows on their own merits.
In the age of building a group's presence on the Internet, independent bands like Arrows often shoot their glitter gun before the album is ever released, bringing out multiple singles and leaked tracks. What we'd already known of Voyage, like the gauzy Into The Clouds (watch it) and Nova (watch it) is here, but they've saved some of their best work for long-player. The eight-minute There Is Still Hope epitomizes synthpop grandeur, while tracks like the jaunty Conquest, in which vocalist Stefan Storm seems to channel a young Green Gartside of Scritti Politti, are concise and melodic.
There have been numerous electropop duos over the past few years - Visitor, Monarchy, etc - most sliding into oblivion, but there's something warmer about The Sound Of Arrows. For some, the music on Voyage will take them back to the 80's, when pop stars actually tried to make cohesive albums. Today's bedsit electro noodlers will recognize an expensive sounding model. Either way, the disco storming Wonder (watch it) implies that, surely, there exists a sexy planet with magenta skies where these tunes rules the airwaves.
Voyage teaser, set to There Is Still Hope:
Voyage, out November 7, comes with a second disc - an instrumental version of the album.