If you’ve ever wondered what Swedish Synth-pop duo The Sound Of Arrows exactly mean by describing their sound as widescreen pop, you will be up-to-speed, knowledgeable and left in no illusions, in the time it takes to listen to the duo’s hotly anticipated sophomore album “Stay Free“.
The duo comprised of Stefan Storm and Oskar Gullstrand was propelled to notice by blogosphere buzz surrounding their debut album “Voyage“, itself very cinematic in sound, if not a touch sci-fi inclined, but no less dotted with subtle details and intricacies. A dreamy beginning of synthetic bliss, exploding choruses, and tracks bathed in equal measures of glacial melancholy. In the process, it secured a legion of fans who swiftly put the duo on a pedestal, worshipping them as the latest synth-pop messiahs and with valid reasons to do so.
The follow-up album was always going to be a tall-order after such a highly regarded debut, but those who have truthfully believed in The Sound Of Arrows all along have known they would return with new material as good as, if not better than their initial pop masterpiece.
The singles from the new album “Stay Free” – “Beautiful Life“, and “In The Shade of Your Love“, give two distinctive tastes of what goes on in the album, which basks in both the electronic and pop arenas with aplomb. Melodies twinkle with a sense of wonderment and the overall sound is sonically vast through out. The addition of an orchestra elevates the duo’s dreamy compositions to another level of unworldliness, which accentuates the sense of an almost spiritual cleansing taking place to the most prominent extent.
What might catch you off-guard about this album is that you’ll be able to pick up the influence of modern pop songs. I won’t divulge which tracks I experienced hints of All Saints “Pure Shores”, Drake’s “Hotline Bling”, and Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams “Get Lucky”, spring up on. Although, I am certain it is down to the clever layering on the duo’s part that has me thinking this way.
“Stay Free” both opens and closes with the lyrics ‘there is no beginning’, which sets the mood of the twelve-track collection, as cohesive and identifiable with a limitless quality which is hard to ignore.
The Sound of Arrows remain the synth-pop messiahs, “Stay Free“, is their opus. A glittering cathedral of synths, pop and orchestral arrangements, showcasing formidable production skills and musicality to a high-end aesthetic, with Stefan Storm breathing soul, poise and purpose into the embodiment of every blissful track.