Love In Times Of Repetition
SCQ Rating: 78%
It’s a testament to the likability of The Postal Service that even a decade after Give Up upgraded electro-pop to the forefront of Western hipsterdom – and with thousands of copycat acts dumped unmercifully by the wayside – music-lovers remain breathless for the duo to reemerge. At the expense of Jimmy Tamborello and Ben Gibbard, both highly engaging artists in their own rights, what people want isn’t necessarily another Postal Service record so much as another idyllic marriage; timeless songwriting and left-field progression gelling into one accessible, groundbreaking sound.
Over their debut full-length, Asonat (Fannar Asgrimsson and Jonas Thor Guomundsson) seek to reassemble the electro-pop rules with an icy, Scandinavian flair. It’s an ideal partnership to attempt such a task, not only since both songwriters hail from Iceland but because each already possesses hard credentials on the slippery genre. Asgrimsson released one of recent memory’s finest folktronica records with 3:03 (courtesy of his other project, Plastik Joy) while Guomundsson has been channeling airy electronic melodies under the Ruxpin moniker for years. The sleek machinations of Love In Times Of Repetition feel empowered by the Ruxpin mastermind (particularly on an oscillating instrumental like “We Have Come So Far Again”) but stick to the wall thanks to Asgrimsson’s footing (which gives "On the Other Side" a hand-crafted, organic focus).
Besides collaborators offering complimentary talents, Love In Times Of Repetition thrives on ample doses of variety that keep listeners unsure what’s around the corner. Guest-vocalists dabble into the mix, intoning over the intimate “Where the Heart Lives” with heavy accent and questioning the state of romantic affairs in “Expectations”. Likewise, the mood flips with the flexibility of a full day’s soundtrack; “Part Of Your Plan” eases its tension stealthily over one’s morning coffee whereas “What Have We Done (Silence Is Golden)” shimmers with the urgency of streetlights caressing a darkened car. Orbiting the pristine heart of Give Up with a wide, off-axis trajectory, Asonat beckon electro-pop’s youthful heart to inch increasingly toward the left, resulting in an inviting and artfully progressive pop album.