Thursday 30 May 2013

When Saints Go Machine - Infinity Pool


The opening track of ‘Infinity Pool’, the third album from the Danish quartet, is a strange one.  And that’s coming from a band who are known for their strange, off-kilter electronic pop.  But hip-hop?  Hearing the rap of Killer Mike alongside a hip-hop beat is not only jarring for fans of the band’s previous material, but creates a disconnect with the rest of the album.  When Saints Go Machine are certainly an experimental group who thrive on pushing the boundaries, but Love and Respect is far from what they do best.

The rest of the album delves into more familiar territory, but doesn’t live up to previous album ‘Konkylie’.  ‘Infinity Pool’ is a more synth-focussed album, lacking the archaic dreaminess of Konkylie or Church And Law.  Where ‘Konkylie’ stood out for its combination of creative weirdness and pop hooks, ‘Infinity Pool’ strays too far into the former and is devoid of the latter.

That’s not to say there aren’t some moments of magic, some small sparks of excellence.   The main synth riff of Infinity Killer slowly grinds away until the beat finally drops at the three minute mark; the harpsichord opening of System Of Unlimited Love soon develops into shimmering droplets before the chorus hook kicks in; Mannequin is a rare example of typical pop structure; Order features powerful euphoric lines that hint at some rave influence.

A large part of the band’s appeal is the unique, trembling falsetto of frontman Nikolaj Vonsild, but on this album his melodies are constantly fragmented and at odds with the production.  This parallels the disjointed production that seemingly changes style every few bars; production that straddles a thin line between experimentation and confusion.

The result is an album that often feels like a collection of disparate ideas and demos, rather than being fully fleshed out.  As such, ‘Infinity Pool’ is cohesive only in its abstraction; a beast in a constant state of evolution with very little to guide you along the way.  It’s enough to make your head swim.

3/5

Gizzle's Choice:
* Infinity Killer
* System Of Unlimited Love
* Order

Listen: 'Infinity Pool' is available now.