Club 8

Club 8

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The self-titled third album by the eclectic Swedish duo Club 8 (their first to released in the U.S.) drops both the twee indie pop of their debut, Nouvelle, and the Euro-dance vibe of the follow-up, A Friend I Once Had, in favor of a female vocals plus understated electronics feel somewhere between the pop pastiche of Saint Etienne and the elegant moodiness of Portishead, with just a hint of the retro glamour of their fellow Scandinavians the Cardigans, Komeda, and Cloudberry Jam. Karolina Komstedt's lazy coo, overdubbed with airy ba-ba-ba harmonies and purring asides, is at the heart of these simply produced songs. There's a delicacy to guitarist/keyboardist Johan Angergard's arrangements that recalls both mid-'80s U.K. indies like Felt or Prefab Sprout and later outfits like the Sundays and Walking Wounded-era Everything but the Girl. More importantly, although the cozy, blithely romantic mood is more important than immediately catchy hooks, the songs are engagingly melodic, and stick in the listener's head after only a couple of spins. There's nothing here that hasn't been done before, but Club 8's dreamy brand of lounge pop makes an inviting late-night listen. The exceedingly brief 31-minute playing time combats listener fatigue, but some might feel shortchanged.

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