With dubstep and eurotrance dominating today’s electronic soundscape, a good chill-out album isn’t just relaxing—it’s revitalizing. An Album By Korallreven, the latest LP from the aforementioned Swedish pop-tronica duo, is just as refreshing. A velvety love letter to jaunty ’80s pop and the naughts’ ultrachill lo-fi, An Album aims for the pop appeal of peers like Royksopp but swaps the icy swagger for an understated and organic approach.
In other words, don’t look to any of the cuts on this record to hold you over until the next Robyn album: This is a soundtrack for nights spent curled up in a Snuggie with your significant other. “The Truest Faith,” with its laidback flamenco vibe, could be a cousin to Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita,” restructured for a lazy, snowy morning. Yet opener “As Young As Yesterday” swells with the sounds of raindrops, handclaps and acoustic guitar. The abundance of nature sound effects—the raindrops punctuating “As Young As Yesterday” and “Pago Pago,” the soft whispers of wind throughout the album—add to the lush atmosphere and save it from sounding like a new-age side project.
Songs like “Loved-Up” emphasize Korallreven’s production and instrumentals and allow the vocals to settle alongside the chimes and bongos. Also excellent is closer “Comin’ Down,” which, true to its title, makes a gradual descent through layers of Eastern-influenced folk and minimalist chill-house, finally landing on a pillow of washed-out synths.
You may categorize An Album By Korallreven as background music. That’s by no means a bad thing—if anything, such a distinction solidifies this album as an intense experience: a wintry escape to the wilderness with a slight detour to the dance floor along the way.