Club 8

The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming

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The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming is Club 8's first album since 2003's Strangely Beautiful, and it's a welcome return. Johan Angergård was busy with Acid House Kings and the Legends, as well as helping run the Labrador label, and while these projects are all wonderful, there's something special that happens when his songcraft and musical skills are paired with Karolina Komstedt's hushed and angelic vocals. The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming is further proof of the worth of their collaboration. Angergård seems to have held onto a batch of his best songs (or working with Komstedt brings out the best in him) with a nice mix of first-rate heartbreak ballads ("Hopes and Dreams," "In the Morning"), shimmering pop songs ("Whatever You Want," "When I Come Around"), and songs that reflect Angergård's love of '80s pop ("Heaven," "Leave the North"). The arrangements are soft and sparse, incorporating strings, horns, and all manner of drum machines into a sound that is light and frithy but very rich. Best of all, it shows no signs of the heavy, almost morose feeling that crept into some of their earlier albums. While Angergård's work is impressive, the real star of the album is Komstedt. She sings with grace and warmth throughout, never singing two notes when one would suffice and hitting a perfect blend of melancholy and serenity. The album is a sunny treat for lovers of simple, sweet pop songs and ranks favorably with the group's best albums; in fact, it may be their most satisfying effort to date. Whether they stay together or if this is just a one-off, the return of Club 8 is like a midsummer's dream come true.

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