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Club 8 – Pleasure (Labrador)

club8Over the past 20 years, Karolina Komstedt and Johan Angergård have been quietly amassing a subtly brilliant catalogue of music as Club 8. Pleasure is the duo’s ninth studio album and follows 2013’s Above The City.

The Swedish outfit have engaged in various musical styles over the years, from indie pop to bossa nova and dance, but thanks to Komstedt’s meltingly gorgeous voice, they always very much retain their own sound.

Pleasure as an album sits stylistically somewhere between Annie and Sally Shapiro, and with just eight tracks clocking in at under 25 minutes, it might be slight in duration but certainly not in substance.

‘Love Dies’ introduces the record beautifully, delicate keyboard motifs building up around that special vocal and eventually some barely-there heartbeat percussion that builds towards a crescendo but ends before it really gets there. It is a classy beginning to the album before the (relatively) more muscular Chvrches-like ‘Skin’ comes along, sounding every inch a hit single.

‘Late Nights’ is another effortlessly tuneful song , and like all the others on the album, is instantly likeable with its twinkly arpeggio keyboards and razor sharp melody. It’s remarkable how many of the tracks sound like ready-made hit singles.

It was always going to be interesting to discover whether ‘Kinky Love’ was a cover of the Pale Saints classic, but alas, it isn’t. Instead it is a fabulously understated track with echoes of Club 8 past;  Angergård’s lovely chilled guitar floating in towards the end to compliment the soothing synths.

‘Movement’ contains lyrics that could have almost been designed to be tongue-in-cheek-ly the opposite of the music’s feel, as Komstedt sings ‘I want to burn out’ atop the coolest (in more than one sense!) track imaginable.

In a world where so many albums are just a bit, or a lot, too long, it would be churlish to say that you are left wanting more – but that is very definitely the case as the closing ‘Promises We Never Meant To Keep’ floats stylishly into the ether. The irony is that the band recorded 30 songs during the recording of the album; Club 8 obviously have an extremely tight quality control process!

Throughout their career, Club 8 have casually thrown out a stream of classics; always highly accessible but remaining, for most at least, firmly under the radar. They have released their records around the world on 40 different labels but somehow remain a well-kept secret. Pleasure deserves to put an end to that situation and catapult them into the next league.

[Rating:4.5]

Release date: 20th November 2015

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