THE TOP 31 LP’S OF ’11 > #12. THE SOUND OF ARROWS – VOYAGE
#12. THE SOUND OF ARROWS – VOYAGE
Sweden’s The Sound Of Arrows have been an Internet favourite since their first single, the bewitching “Into The Clouds”, found itself sprawled across dozens of pop blogs and a few hundred hipster ones in late 2009. This incredibly long-awaited debut Voyage is saturated with fresh and vibrant sun-kissed pop music; each track almost outdoing the last with how high a peak they individually deliver. This is a beautiful record with a lot of emotional and euphoric high-points which are only helped along by production from pop music favourite Richard X; it’s really a no-brainer that this album would chart highly on my list this year because on paper the idea of all this alone is a proper smash.
Each songs peak is helped along by strong, melancholic harmonies that play on the heart. It’s not enough that the lyrics can take you there, there are melodies and moments in the way chords are presented that just hit all emotional receptors. Voyage is a very powerful album in the way it captures that often sort-after heartbreak on the dance floor approach to pop music, and what’s so captivating about it is that it does so in a relatively unique fashion from each previous track. The record opens with their debut single “Into The Clouds”, a sugar-rush of synthy highs before erupting into the records finest hour (no fucking around; Track 2 – here’s our best song), current single “Wonders”, which is a deliciously sad/banging pop song, one that offers up the most rewarding middle-8 of the year and is an absolute feast to listen to on a massive system. Loud speakers serve other Rave-up spectacles like “Nova” and the truly breathtaking album closer, the near 8-minute throw-down “There Is Still Hope” very well, the latter which is one of the albums most heartfelt and iconic moments. “You’ll come back to me” is coo’d in chorus as the song draws to its final 50 seconds – goosebumps.
The strongest Pet Shop Boys influence can be found in the subtle (but still heavily melodic) “My Shadow”, but it’s the slight ABBA tendencies in the magnetic “Magic”, a straightforward pop song with a child-choir singing along that is so joyously and unapologetically upbeat and positive and plays out as truly exhilarating stuff – it’s this kind of pop that really make Arrows stick out as being very well aware of their climate and surroundings music-wise. A total gem. Another groundbreaker of a moment is the seductive “Conquest”, perhaps the most experimental – and all the better for it – moment on an album that serves up relentlessly legendary chorus after another. But even when Arrows don’t offer you a chorus, as on the instrumental “Dark Sun”, they still offer you chords and melody that play to your feet as well as your heart. Even without words they are able to say so much.
This is the best thing Richard X has been apart of since his work on Rachel Stevens‘ hilariously titled Come & Get It. In fact, Voyage is a triumph of truly epic proportions and is by far one of the most refined and intricately effortless debuts in years.