Photographer: Henrik Halvarsson.
After making the most musically diverse album of their long career with 2013's Above the City, Club 8 return with possibly their most focused. On 2015's Pleasure, the duo of Johan Angergård and Karolina Komstedt stick to a synth-heavy approach, drawing from classic synth pop and icy Euro-disco to craft a slick and melancholy sound that suits the lyrics about love, sex, and jealousy. The more uptempo, dancefloor-ready songs like "Late Nights" and "Movement" balance the chilly, restrained ballads ("Love Dies," "Jealousy Remains") nicely, and they do the sleek machine disco thing really well, especially on the very Sally Shapiro-esque "Hush." Angergård has a lot of skill at crafting synthy pop; he's made two excellent versions of it already in 2015 with Eternal Death and the Legends. He gets rich sounds out of the various keyboards, layering them with a light touch, and the arrangements are filled with hooky little keyboard melodies and lots of reverb. He knows that the biggest draw is Komstedt's voice and he doesn't detract from it by getting too fancy. She's in top form throughout the album, wringing every drop of emotion out of the lyrics in effortless, gliding-above-it-all fashion. It's a formula that's worked for the band for a long time and it's not even close to getting stale, even with Angergård spreading his talents over multiple projects at a time. Their fusion of melancholy melodies, warm sounds, and truly beautiful vocals is still reliably magical, and the only complaint about Pleasure is that it doesn't last long enough. ~ Tim Sendra