The Sound of Arrows – Voyage (Skies Above)
November 22, 2011 by Bernt Olav Thorsheim
The skinny Swedes from The Sound of Arrows have finally released their debut album and it’s called Voyage because that’s exactly what it is.
I was introduced to Sound of Arrows three years ago when I heard the demo version of ‘M.A.G.I.C’, the albums second single. Since then they’ve patiently harvested the hype surrounding them, building a unique universe of synth pop and neon music videos. Previously, the sleek looking duo said in an interview that they finished the album twice, but both times decided it wasn’t good enough for release, and finally they have got it right.
The album is, as the title says, a voyage into this magical universe. The opener starts our voyage by going ‘Into The Clouds’. One of their biggest hits, ‘Into The Clouds’ represents the Sound of Arrows-sound perfectly; big synths, sharp melodies and lyrics of adventure and companionship.
The album continues in the same fashion as the opener. Second track ‘Wonders’ also sports a slow build up with an inevitable synth explosion and sing along chorus, and like ‘Into The Clouds’ it is also accompanied by a rememberable music video. The Swedes have also said in interviews that their debut album is 50% audio and 50% visual. Their amazing music videos made up of mystical old clips, new animations and shirtless band members dancing with swords are definitley worth checking out – think Disney’s Aladdin meets ’70s science fiction, with a twist of Eurovision and youthful naiveté.
The highlight of the album is definitely the majestic fifth track ‘Ruins of Rome’. It makes me sad to think that Sounds Of Arrows will probably never play giant arena concerts, because this song is made for just that.
After the first six songs, all solid synth pop songs, the album doesn’t deliver quite as frequently. ‘Hurting All The Way’, ‘Lost City’ and the album closer ‘Dark Sun’ just seem boring compared to the more melodic first half of the album. However, ‘Conquest’ and ‘Nova’ still keep the last half of the album interesting; ‘Nova’ is a house oriented dance floor hit, while ‘Conquest’ is the reason the Swedes so often get compared to Pet Shop Boys.
The Sounds of Arrows excel in their ability to incorporate a unique synth sound in every song, while still making them easily distinguishable and dead catchy. And their music videos are magical, cheesy and I don’t understand how they make them look so good. They also look like nice people. They dress sharp and have good hair, which doesn’t hurt.