Communions Provide The Antidote To The January Blue(s)
As Harold Wilson once said, three years is a long time in music. In the case of Copenhagen’s Communions, the last three years have been enough for their moody new-wave to be uprooted by some new-found pop sensibilities in time for the release of their debut LP, ‘Blue’.
It was the release of 2014’s ‘Cobblestones' EP that signaled Communions’ emergence from the burgeoning Danish punk scene. Its rough-and-ready, murky-but-tuneful take on British new-wave circa 1984 garnered the four-piece instant attention. However, 2015’s self-titled EP saw the quartet lose much of the murkiness in favour of a crisper, more Madchester-era sound, replete with squeaky clean vocals and razor-sharp, celestial guitar lines. ‘Blue’ sees this trajectory continue at some velocity, painting today’s Communions as a quite joyful indie-pop proposition.
By way of placing some context on Communications’ progression, one should look no further than lead singer Martin Rehof’s vocals. Three years ago, they were muffled, low in the mix and practically unintelligible. On ‘Blue’, we hear Martin loud and clear, allowing us to catch each word about the quandaries of love and youth in all its glory. And thankfully, some of the reverb that characterised Martin’s vocals on 2015’s self-titled EP has been relinquished in favour of a more precise tone, giving the album a significantly earthier feel.
That is not to say that the album’s earthier feel deprives of it of any of its hook-laden guitar lines or unabashed pop songs. No, certainly not, these are pop songs of the highest order; The La’s with top-end production. “Come On, I’m Waiting” kicks things off in excellent power-pop fashion, brimming with sing-along guitar lines and a massive earworm of a chorus. “Today” is marginally more understated in its approach, tackling a troubled relationship with another catchy chorus, Martin crooning “I wish I could say what I want to say / And go where I want to go” – youthful autonomy at its finest.
Communions flirt with baggy Madchester most obviously on “Passed You By”, they successfully master Blood Orange-esque funk on “Midnight Child” and purvey borderline 90s boy band cheese on “Don’t Hold Anything Back”. It’s bloody good cheese though, the kind you only buy on special occasions. The album’s best moment comes on penultimate track “Eternity”, a needling jangle of a song that descends into a warped version of OMD’s “Electricity”.
At just over forty minutes long, ‘Blue’ veritably breezes by, with dull moments in severe shortage. This is an unashamed pop album, about which no bones should be made. It is, however, expertly-executed pop, intensely catchy and clever in equal measure; the kind of pop with which there is nothing wrong. I, for one, am excited for Communions’ next three years.