Club 8 embarks on yet another journey with their new (and 9th) LP, Pleasure. A slight departure from 2013’s Above The City, which was upbeat yet put a slightly darker dance spin into the Club 8 repertoire, Club 8 continues down that darker path while forgoing the positive. Instrumentally, the band hones their synthwave skills, just with a heavier, more ominous tone than on previous records.
Pleasure follows Johan Angergard’s current vision and obsession with a slightly darker, more electronic sound. Earlier this year, we saw this in its extreme with Eternal Death, his collaboration with youthful singer/songwriter Elin Berlin. He followed that release with the super chill but still quite dark LP from his solo project The Legends.
While “Love Dies” finds Club 8 on what appears to be a diversion from Above The City, that sound is still full-bore throughout Pleasure. But, like pretty much everything from both Club 8 and The Legends, it’s also a bit different. “Skin” and “Kinky Love” both seem like they could be romantic and overtly sexual, but instead come off more along the lines of woeful lovelorn tales (whether that’s truly the case or not).
Karolina Komstedt, the other half of the Club 8 duo, notes that the album is perhaps their “most focused release to date,” and that its thematic elements are focused on sex, love and jealousy.
Much of Angergard’s current musical inspiration is drawn from his personal experiences and emotions of late. With the release of The Legends’ It’s Love earlier this year, we found Johan at the age of 40 in the midst of a complete life change. An old love lost, a new love in the works. This upheaval produced in him a creative streak that I believe seeped into Pleasure, at least to some extent.
Conceptually, the music is quite good. And while my so-called “sad bastard” days are over, I still find comfort in an overly emotional sounding song — Belle & Sebastian still does top my list of most-listened-to-artist — so Pleasure fits right in. Yet when you truly have a chance to dig into any of Angergard’s works from 2015, you will find a resonating theme: the music is intensely dark, but there are rays of hope, love and even tranquility in the lyrics.