An Album for Your Pop Canon Collection
Essential tracks: We Raise Our Hearts, On The Run, Rivers, Skying High.
Some records need to settle, especially one as full of trending characteristics as Skyer. For a slew of reasons, none of which deserve to be confessed, I hadn’t ventured much further into Postiljonen than the M83-esque saxophone driven single Atlantis, off of the Scandinavian trio’s debut. The album, released on July 22nd, has been sitting in my ‘to do’ playlist, until finally making it’s way to my ears one breezy smoky night, the first night of the year that the onset of fall air caused slight shivers. Since then I haven’t been able to listen to anything else. Skyer is an eloquently and lushly orchestrated statement on melody and sonic indulgence. There are some amazing vocals from front-woman Mia Bøe, but mostly they are a part of the instrumentation- a support to the surrounding melodies. The result is catastrophically beautiful, transformative melodies with the perfect instruments highlighted throughout.
Skip Intro, the album really begins on the track Help. This is the introduction to the simple yet completely full sound of Postiljonen. Like a deceitfully complex pop song, Help acquaints itself with the audience by instantly establishing that this band is making music with the opposite intention; deceitfully simple on the surface, yet overflowing with layers and layers of thoughtful, moving melodies.
Segue into the very Sound of Arrows track We Raise Our Hearts (an album highlight). The lyrics, while simple, are like a tactile iteration of what the melodies, instrumentation and beats are so clearly communicating. It’s a mood they’re translating into sound, an emotion tracked on a melodic line, only barely more potent with the slight and sometimes clichéd lyrics. The crescendo on this track had me floored, when the song reaches the last 40 seconds and bursts into an insane synth line that glistens above the rest of the song it’s nothing short of exhilarating. It’s as though you’ve been waiting your whole life for that one melody, only to be dropped again into an absurdly low pitfall following such an orgasmic culmination.
Much like that post-coital moment, the next track, On The Run, begins riding the coattails of the high you’ve just experienced. The album begins recovering from the recent sonic onslaught by slowly reintroducing a powerful synth melody, and tactful bass and drum. Following the Postiljonen method, the track begins with a heavy heart, and a heavy sense of nostalgia, slowly developing itself into something that sounds like how the infinity of a thoughtful youth feels.
Although there isn’t a track I would skip on the brief record aside from Intro and maybe the single Atlantis (unfortunately the distinct sax solo makes for an easily overplayed track), Plastic Panorama does not lend anything vital to the rest of the work. While still enjoyable it does feel a bit like a throw away. Even with that said the incorporation of spoken film excerpts is seamless and feels necessary, orchestrated with Mia’s amazingly instrumental vocals and the rolling bass and synth lines that are as delicious here as anywhere, if not only more subtle. To describe a track this nicely and still claim it isn’t vital to the remaining record is a true testament to the quality of some of the more powerful songs.
Supreme is another sweeping, emotive single. With a running synth line, one that’s a bit more erratic than the other tracks, some spoken excerpts and an insane sax solo towards the end, this is still an incredibly original track. Yet it still fits within the framework of the album as a whole, which by this point is already proving itself to be a cohesive and successful endeavor.
Enter Rivers, more Lykke Li than Air France, featuring Mia’s vocals more prominently than any of the other tracks, which has one of the most poignant vocal melodies I’ve heard lately. While her voice shimmers and glides above an understated drum and bass, with tender melodies and sparse instrumentation, you suddenly realize how silent this song is compared to the rest. Where before there was lush now there is space, and it becomes a reprieve, a shift as the albums stronghold control of your mood melds itself into something peaceful and reflective, still with a tinge of calm joy. It makes sense that Skying High would follow, given that it incorporates the style of the more enveloping tracks with the emotive nostalgia of Rivers. The soaring synth line here is so incredibly inescapable, it locks its grasp around your heartstrings and turns whatever you’re doing into Emma Watson on the back of the truck in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, arms extended. Embrace the emotionality of this melody, that’s exactly what its for, and it’s what Postiljonen does best.
Finally All That We Had Is Lost, a play on Whitney Houston, is another standout track. The formula on these tracks continues; “How will I know if he really loves me?”, Mia sings, already aware that her soothing voice, the sensual saxophone melodies, and the perfect synth and bass are how she’s going to make sure we all really love her.
What’s most amazing about this album is that it sounds completely now, completely relevant, and yet completely retro. Instead of being lumped with the thousands of electro-pop outfits reveling in 80s synth, Postiljonen feels original, necessary, and incredibly cool. Beyond this they’ve still crafted an album that is emotive, relatable, and Pop. It’s also completely moving, in its unabashed and indulgent melodies, striking mixing and instrumentation. Way to go Postiljonen, this record is going into my Pop Canon collection.