Denmark… it’s something in the water over there. They just know how to create better music than the rest of us. Case in point: WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE and their newest release Infinity Pool, a stunning mirage of psychedelic electro pop, which also blends in enough elements of rave (without all the boisterous party and laser show feeling) – creating some truly immersive songs. It definitely proves to be harder and more synthetic then any of their releases before, and there’s, for sure, a dark undertone to it. The band seems to draw from an endless pool of yearning. This yearning – this longing feeling – is what frontman Nicolaj Manuel Vonsild considers to the the band’s trademark. Sometimes the focus of a song is on just one beat, yet, most of the times it’s the lyrics. Though, as always, Vonsild doesn’t like to talk about the them, but leaves it to the listener to make up their own mind. There’s a darkness that lingers over the entire record, but it’s never overwhelming. It’s a combination of the electro beats in places and hushed, barely decipherable vocals.
WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE had the idea to strip down all the layers. They turn their back on creating tracks where every layer seems to be competing with the other just to stand out. This time they kept it simple. And one can hear that! Yet, from time to time you realize, that there’s actually a lot of detail to the songs. Sometimes they are full of futuristic elements, breaks and turnarounds. And when you dive into this deep infinite pool of chaos, you will never know if there’s a bottom to it, or if you will ever see the sun again when you come up, because Infinity Pool is simply consistent in its inconsistency. Be careful, you might get lost in it!
For example, the opener Love and Respect is probably the most untypical track of all. If you like it and aspire the rest of the album to be just like that, you will be disappointed. This track is clearly different because the band got supported by a famous guest, the rapper KILLER MIKE, which gives it a clear hip hop sound. The rest of the record is unapologetic electronic. There’s pretty much one synth ballad following the other. Still there are little intricacies that fill out each song and give them their own personality.
Yard Heads, which sounds menacing as hell, and also Mannequin where the soaring chorus gets to be showcased, while the instrumentation keeps everything together underneath are two track where you can really feel what Vonsild meant when he was talking about trying to achieve an overall feeling of yearning. Both tracks stand out because of their genuine simplicity and they are both coated with a delicate helping of psychedelia. Still, WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE are clever in the amount of time they stick to one idea at any given time though, for as dark as the album sounds, it’s never depressing. Tracks like System of Unlimited Love do their part in it and lift up ones spirit from time to time.
As for the closing track, Slace To The Take In You Heaven, although five minutes long, it does not overstay its welcome – potentially becoming an afterthought; it instead becomes the final exclamation point – one that wants you to start the whole album over again. Recommended.
It’s not an easy album to take in at first. It’s an introvert. Although, there are clear stand-out moments on Infinity Pool, it’s best listened to as a comprehensive whole. With elements of early 90’s rave as well as nods to hip hop and psychedelics, WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE have to be applauded for their all-encompassing approach.