Azure Blue - Whatever '18 EP

matinée 097  /  April 2018
Azure Blue - Whatever '18 EP
cdep   $5.00

digital   $5.00

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Azure Blue - Whatever '18 EP

matinée 097  /  April 2018

Sweden's Azure Blue return to the new release shelf with a stunning six-track EP featuring the sophisticated synth pop and lyrical acumen of Tobias Isaksson and ace contributions from popular Swedish artists César Vidal, The Land Below, Peter Morén, Charly A, and Bo.

Lead track ‘Whatever ‘18’ is the first single from the forthcoming new album ‘Fast Falls The Eventide’ due in June. It is top shelf electronic indie about choosing the right things to ignore and an absolute earworm to feature on teenage rebellion playlists.

The EP features five additional tracks that will not appear on the new album, including popular songs from European releases for the first time in North and South America with exclusive bonuses from digital singles and cover versions. ‘Every Ending Story’ is smooth synth pop that suggests Isaksson has more than a few New Order and OMD records in his collection, while ‘Reflections of Light’ is a classic three-minute pop song with refined synths and orchestral flourishes, and ‘Tragedy and Changes’ sets the loud loutish lovers from The Smiths classic ‘I Know It’s Over’ to an electronic beat.

The EP ends with two superb cover versions of songs from the 1990s. ‘Justice’ is the final track from the debut solo album by Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens, and Azure Blue takes the song to another place and another decade altogether. Final track ‘747’ is exclusive to this EP and is a hypnotic electro-pop version of a song originally recorded by popular Swedish band Kent. Azure Blue reworks the song into a massive club hit to end the EP on another high note.

A very welcome return for Azure Blue, ‘Whatever ‘18’ is prime Swedish electronic indie pop and an unconditional score for the Matinée discography.

  1. Whatever '18
  2. Every Ending Story
  3. Reflections Of Light
  4. Tragedy and Changes
  5. Justice
  6. 747


EP of the month was a close call, but we’re giving it to Stockholmian tunesmiths Azure Blue and their “Whatever ‘18” six-tracker on Matinée Recordings. This one shows it means business straightaway with the title track, which flicks an ultra-smooth electro-pop V-sign to the shackles of obedience and conformity. And Tobias Isaksson knows exactly what he’s doing, going for the catchiness jugular by ensuring that most of the song consists of the chorus. The song - a preview of their forthcoming album - is the kind of bright, sassy synth confection that White Town turned their hand to once they’d escaped their brief brushes with fame and a major label: ironically, it’s also the kind of song that in a better world ought really to catapult Mr Isaksson into the sort of spotlight Jyoti Mishra once enjoyed. You’ll genuinely find yourself humming it at the bus stop, which is after all the acid test of any top pop song for the last – ooh, 60 years? The rest of the EP, we understand, harvests bits and pieces from obscure sources but it’s an assured electro take on “Justice”, one of our favourite Robert Forster-penned numbers, which rather jumps out. As well as providing a nice companion piece to Azure Blue’s jaunt through Grant McLennan’s “Fingers” a few years back (on the “Rule Of Thirds” long player), its lyrical themes nicely intertwine with the madness of these days, and despite the obvious risks in attempting to cover such a scintillating record, Azure Blue cast "Justice" in a different light, showing how versatile a piece it really is: a song that could suit the Pet Shop Boys. We daresay that Mr Forster, who turned his own hand so well to covers on his “I Had A New York Girlfriend” set, would approve. Maximum props too, for the sparkling New Order-ish guitars and groove that drive “Every Ending Story” and the glisteningly pretty closer “747”, originally recorded by Kent (the band, not the county) and a track which could almost be Keris and Alex’s Hal were it not for the fact that it’s sung in Swedish (um, we think). This EP should sit just as well with fans of mainstream 80s/90s synth-pop as with connoisseurs of the frequently bejewelled output of less-celebrated outfits (to our ears, these might range from Kanda and White Town through to Other People’s Children, They Go Boom! or even, at times, Orange Cake Mix). --In Love With These Times, In Spite Of These Times
Friday's number one mission for us was to find a set of music to get lost in.  Music that is encompassing, absorbing, and provides an excellent reason to not bothering to finish the work that has piled up all week.  And we found exactly what we needed.  In fact, we found more than one, but we will start with Swedish musician Tobias Isaksson, who has gifted the world with another glistening jewel, the six-song Whatever '18.  Recording as Azure Blue, Isaksson has been thrilling synth pop fans for years, but 2018 looks to be more important than most.  In addition to the four original compositions and two covers (of "Justice" by Robert Forster and "747" by fellow Swedes Kent) on Whatever '18, he will be releasing the full length album Fast Falls The Eventide this summer. Whatever '18 is lush, romantic synth pop with sparkling details and soaring melodies.  The title track will be on the new album, but the other five are only available on the EP (except for the few tracks that appeared on European-only releases in the past).  In addition to Isaksson, the songs boast contributions by Swedish artists César Vidal, The Land Below, Peter Morén, Charly A, and Bo.  Of course, there are reminders of the synth pop heyday of the '80s, including some direct parallels to New Order, OMD and (including on the title track streamed below), but adept reworking by Isaksson provides a musical statement that is not only vital and life-affirming, but very much up to date.  We loved it on the first listen, and our appreciation grows with every replay. --When You Motor Away
I think an Azure Blue song was recommended on the blog just a week ago. Well, this week the band and Matinée Recordings announced a new CDEP called “Whatever ’18”. There are 6 songs on this CD which are “Whatever ’18”, “Every Ending Story”, “Reflections of Light”, “Tragedy and Changes”, “Justice” and “747”. The opening song will actually be part of the forthcoming new album “Fast Falls the Eventide” which is due in June. On the link you can check out “Whatever ’18” and “Reflections of Light”. As always this is fantastic electronic indie pop! --Cloudberry Cake Proselytism
Oh Tobias how I’ve missed you. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve heard from Tobias and his Azure Blue project, but out of nowhere he drops a new EP, with news of a full-length coming right around the corner. The newest tune is a heavy synthpop gem, filled with a deep melody that’s washed over by warm vocals. There’s a few new tracks on this Whatever 18′ EP, with the rest compiled from hard to find singles released elsewhere; one of the tunes is a cover of “Justice” by Robert Forster. Grab it over at Matinée Recordings, and then sit back and enjoy the pop sensation while we wait for the next LP. --Austin Town Hall
‘Whatever ‘18’ es el EP de adelanto del cuarto disco de este sueco que ha militado o milita en bandas como IRENE, LAUREL MUSIC, PERSONAL TRAINERS o NITE FLIGHTS. A “Whatever ‘18”, un hit de synth-pop que recuerda irremediablmente a NEW ORDER y DEPECHE MODE, le acompañan cinco canciones exclusivas de este EP que no aparecerán en el disco, rarezas procedentes de singles digitales o versiones como “Justice” de Robert Forster (THE GO-BETWEENS) o “747” del grupo sueco KENT, que cierra este EP. Para estas canciones, se ha acompañado de otros artistas suecos como César Vidal (CAESARS), THE LAND BELOW, Peter Moren (PETER BJORN & JOHN), Charly A, y Bo. --El Planeta Amarillo