The Connecting Dots is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and the core of the band consists of singer Helena Sundstrom and guitarist Johan Borg. Their debut album Oblivious Beatnwas written quite quickly “in a kind of stream of consciousness mode.” The band’s idea was to not over-do or over-think anything and their belief was that the album is very much its own entity. The songs were actually written in the same order they appear on the album. The entire album was recorded in Stockholm and Trollhattan, Sweden, mixed in Stockholm and mastered up north in Sundsvall. The band is influenced by artists like David Bowie, Prince, Lana Del Rey, Big Star, Blondie, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Kate Bush, Eurythmics, Suede and Roxy Music. Musically, the group relates their music to bands like Chromatics, Cults, and Beach House.
The opener “So Beau Monde” has got a unique take on mixing up styles and sound of the past and present – I can really hear the Blondie, ‘80s new wave, Lana Del Rey influences already. “No Rules” ramps ups even more great ‘80s synth sounds and melodies. This one also mixes up some darker, shadowy sounds of post-punk bands like Joy Division and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Next up is “Details” and this tune seems to deliver the trademark single recipe that you might hear on the radio – at least that’s how it sounded to me. A lot of great echo effects on Sundstrom’s voice and synth sounds as well. “Night Driver” has got a great beat and it “feels” like the night, as if you can imagine a rainy, dark street and the city hums with a presence. Borg’s guitar on this number is pretty fabulous work I’d say.
“Sleepy City” offers a lighter and brighter sound, more in the style of Del Rey or Kate Bush, but there also seems to be some old school sensibilities here too, like some influence from the ‘60s have rubbed off somewhere. “In the Movies” has got a fantastic bass line, smooth and cool, and the song’s melody has got a romantic feel to it as well. This one reminded me very much of Roxy Music and I like the band’s break and outro at the end. “Golden Chain” offers the listener a song that’s just a bit faster in some parts with breaks and more dynamics overall. I really loved Borg’s guitar (some brighter sounds reminded me of Johnny Marr), and I also liked the deeper, bass beats. It would be interesting to see if the band would do some sort of house/electronic mix, but faster – I can hear it in this song. “Pure Horizon” has an optimistic feel, dreamy, but also it has this post-disco/electronic flair that sounded so good! The distorted treatment of Sundstrom’s voice and house beat reminded of Garbage’s second album, and the lighter, dreamier synths gives this tune a great dynamic, too.
Moving onto “Out of Our Hands” you’ll hear a driving, thumping beat and plenty of great synth sounds. I was fond of this one for its harder driving pop sound. I thought the last number “Cairo, I’m Leaving You Know” was a bit of a departure from the rest of the album. I’m not sure if it was the song’s beat or the way the song was written, but it had a very unique structure that seemed to set it apart from the other songs. I don’t know, I guess I just liked the way the duo transitioned from verse to guitar breaks – there was just something about it that I couldn’t describe into words.
Overall, I tend to agree with this Swedish band’s take on their debut – their songs are not overdone, and they do seem to join together as if “in a stream of consciousness.” Perhaps, you may think the songs sound too much alike but, I’ll be listening to this band again. I enjoyed their sound a lot and thought it was quite refreshing. Oh, and for those who like that classic vinyl sound, The Connecting Dots have put one out, and it comes with lyrics too!
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