In advance of their debut album Norwegian electronic band Eik described their sound as a combination of deep house, ambient textures and pop hooks, a description which did not exactly fire up great enthusiasm as one who is generally adverse to varied forms of dance music. Undetected soon proved to be much more than one imagined going in to it and though it will not retain a perpetual place in the ear here there is no escaping the album was thoroughly enjoyable and for fans of all forms of electronic music it is sure to be a deeply pleasurable treat.
Consisting of Per Kåre Limmesand (keyboards and effects) and Kristoffer Carlsen (drums), Eik have created a diverse and consistently elegant album whilst still making it a warm and welcoming infection for all melodic hearts. With a classical breath to much of Undetected alongside the eager pop veins and ambient heart, the release is a perpetually surprising and consistently fluttering warm kiss upon the ear. Using guest vocalists on many of the tracks, the duo create striking soundscapes and mesmeric weaves which sweep one up easily in to their expressive atmospheres.
All That You Said begins the pleasure with a female voice gently caressing the ear over electronic pulses and a brewing melodic synth mist. An intrusive hypnotic pulse throbs powerfully throughout the song whilst minimal yet expressive sounds and textures sway in and out and though it is a gentle start to the album, with the song soaring skies with impressive vocal harmonies and squeezing tight with that unavoidable pulse it is impossible not to be captivated.
The following duo of tracks Love Storm and Seems To Be Real bring an eighties electro infection which is delicious. The first reminds of early Human League with a blend of the sophistication of Depeche Mode and the pop of Blancmange. The male vocals are outstanding adding to the nostalgic feel and the track is not long in becoming a firm favourite even though the latter sky bound melodies take the song into areas reminding of Vangelis which is not as agreeable. The second of the two songs is a sea of sirenesque female vocals and addictive melodic pop caresses. It immediately excites with a Visage seeded pulsating start before the female vocals add their great energy and pop cream to the electronic dessert beneath. Her vocals actually remind of the pop stylings of Aqua but do not panic it all works perfectly and is a wonderful track.
The instrumental Background For Documentaries and the following techno/dance fuelled 74 did miss the mark quite easily but that is down to personal taste though the fact that the instrumental did not offer an experience and journey as impactful and imaginative as on other songs was disappointing. It failed to ignite imagery or emotions and was generally just underwhelming.
Things are soon on track again though with a pair of impressive songs. Thinking Of is a delightful piece of music with vocals dazzling the ear over minimal beats and restrained but glittering synth invention. The song is simple but fully effective and again mesmeric. The best track on the album Utopia follows straight after and it is a real gem. With lively ripples of Middle Eastern Music teasing and weaving amongst again an eighties recalling electronic imagination the song is magnificent and destined to be the most revisited. Again the likes of Blancmange come to mind as well as Eik contemporaries Austerlitz, the combination especially with the rhythmic and voice only twist within the song glorious.
Undetected is a great and very pleasing surprise for these ears and though maybe not an album we will be immersing within as often as others there are certainly tracks which demand and will receive a persistent invitation to entertain. With the album Eik also suggest there are bigger and more imaginative things to come and we for one cannot wait. If electronic pop with a real essence and heart appeals Eik is a must, so go find and enjoy.
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