Studio, West Coast

Todd Burns

By Todd Burns

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

West Coast


Before they became Studio, the duo of Dan Lissvik and Rasmus Hägg, helped guide the Service label — one of Sweden's most fertile indie imprints and home to Jens Lekman and the Whitest Boy Alive. Lissvik and Hägg are far more influenced by contemporary dance music, however. (Studio may be Nordic, but their sound is pure Balearic.) Sinuous guitar lines wrap themselves around basslines that more often than not ride the two and the four, while synthesizers approximate steel drums or nurse ping-pong melodies. "Life's a Beach," for example, clocks in at nearly thirteen minutes, riding a hypnotic groove ripened just so for the inevitable remixes, while "West Side" takes a page from Art of Noise's "Moments in Love" and lets disembodied vocal stabs carry the tune.

Two pasty Swedes make the best beach album of 2007.

Those vocals, the oft-delayed guitars, the ever-present bongos, the melodica on "Origin," the sound of glittering, lapping waves: West Coast is full of tropical signifiers. (Except for "Indo." We have no idea what that means at all.) All of which should help make this afro-prog-disco-yacht-rock stunner a must-have for your next trip to the beach. Surf's up!