Connecting dots

REVIEW: ‘Oblivious Beat’ – The Connecting Dots

The Connecting Dots – “Oblivious Beat”

Swedish duo The Connecting Dots blend indie-rock pop with retro synthwave to create their debut album, “Oblivious Beat”, which is out today, and it’s a festival of cultures from multiple decades, so there’s something here for everyone! The Stockholm pair spent 2020 writing and recording and now they have shared their fruits with us and to get a taste of that sweet, delicate fruit, look no further than the opening track, “So Beau Monde”, Blondie meets Visage! The bass is there along with the percussion, but so are the long, drawn out synths of the very early 80’s along with sweet, child-like vocals that will pervade this album, as we shall see…

The synths, if anything, are stronger on the second track, “No Rules”, with an electric hook and some, often sinister vocals from lead singer Helena Sundstrom. Her ‘partner’ Johan Borg, manages guitars and ‘stuff’, apparently! And ably it would seem and that extended to the third track, “Details”, with its slow, meandering crawl to wherever, with the occasional guitar riff and evern more occasional vocals. Those are all the ‘details’ you need to know about this very understated and sublime song.

There’s something of an urgency about “Night Driver”, perhaps as you need to be on the road and heading home from wherever it is you’ve been. This song uses more of an indie-rock soundtrack while the synths are almost relegated to the sidelines as Helena states time and time again, that she’s not going home on any day of the week. “Sleepy City” is just that, a late night chill tune with minimal output which is all that’s required for that late night/early morning when the brain in on half shutdown. The synths continue to be kept at bay with the guitar soundtrack ever present for “In The Movies”, a superb retro-acoustic track about meeting someone and spending time with them, wanting it to be just how it is “In The Movies”. But is it…?

This centre section of the album is clearly more about the guitar and the instrumentation as we continue with “Golden Chain” in the same vein, sounding early 90’s and even with the vocalisations give these tracks an earthy, sometimes haunting sound. Fear not, however, synth returns with “Pure Horizon” as we ‘creep’ easily back to the early 80’s but with a faint echo of mid-90’s Portished buried in its middle-eight. Epic in scope, “Pure Horizon” wrings absolutely everything it can from its long and never unwelcome length. The ‘synth candy’ extends to “Out Of Our Hands” and coupled with the pulsing beat and long guitar chords, this is an odyssey in itself.

The interestingly titled “Cairo, I’m Leaving You Now” offers on final burst of retrowave, low key amusement, perhaps as a parting shot or as we wave goodbye to The Connecting Dots, from that Egyptian capital? Who knows. The song is a glorious excuse for the pair to strum those strings and press those keys for one, long, lasting bite of their very juicy, just-ripe fruit that is so ready for the picking and to be shown to me, to you, to everyone. Melt into the “Oblivious Beat” of The Connecting Dots this year, it’s a journey I promise you will not be taking anywhere else.

Stay in touch with The Connecting Dots through their BANDCAMP page and via TWITTER

 

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!