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.