35:10 min • Best Fit Records • July 22, 2013
Andrew Darley reviews
Postiljonen have fittingly named their debut album Skyer. The title works in two senses; firstly as the Norwegian word for ‘clouds’, which reflects the lofty sound of the music and, secondly, the word can be read as noun: something that can reach the sky and beyond.
The Scandinavian trio have been establishing themselves online since 2011 with a string of singles, most of which appear here. The band grabbed significant attention for their reimagining of the early Whitney Houston hit ‘How Will I Know’. The band slowed down the ‘80s pop-belter with their pulsating synths, sultry vocals and worked in a new chorus that flips the original’s meaning on its head. Yet, it’s easy to see why they chose to cover it and why it fits perfectly with their own material (renamed ‘All That We Had Is Lost’). Houston’s longing of a boy she dreams about, who “takes me to the clouds above” reverberates with the style and themes of the Postiljonen’s music.
Commencing with a two minute intro, the airy vocals and glittery loops rush together to make us feel as though we are taking off. From there, the album takes us on a spirited ride that is uplifting, nostalgic and still future-forward. ‘Plastic Panorama’ bubbles along with twinkly synths and endearing hand claps. ‘On The Run’ has a carefree youth about it as singer Mia Bøe dreams of running away during the night with her loved one. Although the album’s texture has softness to it, the band are not short of dramatic moments. At the album’s halfway mark, we are met by ‘Supreme’, which unleashes an energizing synth sequence, crashing drums and a final over-the-top guitar solo that is catchy and fun.
Skyer reaches a soaring conclusion with the fantastic ‘Atlantis’. Draped in brooding synthesizers, it beats along to slicked-back saxophone and an irresistible melody. Little media coverage of Postiljonen so far has done so without mentioning or comparing them to the work of M83. There are some clear sonic similarities that hark back to the teenage-inspired world of Saturdays=Youth, whilst a more obvious likely nod is the saxophone that threads the album together which featured on Anthony Gonzalez’s mainstream breakthrough ‘Midnight City’. Who knows if his work was an inspiration in making this record? What’s more important is that it does not really matter.
Even if critics are right in saying they’ve taken leads from other artists, it simply does not detract from the soul and world they’ve made here. It’s true that Skyer does not break the musical mould of what has come and past. Nor does it intend to do so. What it does, however, rewardingly offer to those willing to listen is a solid 40 minutes of joyous escapism. Its ten songs gradually sweep us out from under that take us on an elevating musical ride. Sometimes we just have to take good music as good music, even if its purpose is not to reinvent the wheel or pose something wholly new. Otherwise we would overlook the pleasure in so many great, deserving albums. Thus, Skyer is the perfect title for an album that reaches great heights and the possibilities it arouses its listener to feel.