Kasper Bjørke

Fool

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A vaguely conceptual work divided into two parts and released on April Fool's Day, Kasper Bjørke's third album is more than a little fun. Front-loaded with a quartet of top-shelf synth pop singles sung by fellow Dane Jacob Bellens, the Copenhagen-based producer/DJ has rarely sounded so confident as on these droll and sophisticated tracks. The blend of Bellens' laconic baritone with the deep new wave punch of songs like "Hummingbirds" and "Lose Yourself to Jenny" makes for some of Bjørke's most engaging work. These four vocal-based love songs, which also include a guest spot by singer Emma Acs on "Deep Is the Breath" and another Bellens offering called "Sunrise," are grouped together on the album's first side, which Bjørke refers to as the "Hungry side." The remaining six tracks, inhabiting the second or "Foolish side," are mostly instrumental, pitting dark rock tones against elements of the disco house Bjørke perfected in his prior life as half of the electronic duo Filur. Sequenced as a sort of suite, this section begins with the throbbing analog synth introduction "Overture" before building into a heady cascade of textural electric guitars and pulsing dance rhythms on "D.O.A.H." Here, Bjørke stretches out, piling on bits of random psychedelia over weirdly funky beats and thumping synth bass on songs like "All I Hear Is Drums" and the creepy Laid Back-assisted "Bohemian Soul." Obviously a showcase for his darker tendencies, the "Foolish side" probably could have been trimmed a little bit to make for a more concise listen. Still, it's bursting with interesting ideas and great sounds, making it an intriguing foil to the lovelorn pop songs of the "Hungry Side." Bjørke's senses of humor, melody, and adventure continue to evolve on yet another solid release.

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