Band of the Day

2012.01.12

Korallreven

Swedish duo's tropical dance party dreams
Honey mine remember how we used to shine. Summer skies remember my time for old times.
lyrics from Honey Mine

Korallreven is an electronic dream-pop duo based in Stockholm, Sweden. Both of the group's members Marcus Joons and Daniel Tjäder are active in the Swedish music scene, Tjäder is also a member of much-loved indie pop band The Radio Dept. The seeds for Korallreven were planted when Joons visited the tropical pacific island of Samoa in 2007. Inspired by the care-free tropical feeling of the place and spiritual hymns sung by the islanders, he decided he wanted to create spiritual pop music that recreated this feeling. The synthy, balearic dance-influenced sound is certainly tropical, and in-line with other Swedish electronic dreamers like Air France, JJ and The Tough Alliance/ceo. The duo first began recording in 2009 and inked a deal with Canadian label Acephale in 2010. They tempted the blogosphere with a few one-off singles, receiving coverage from buzz makers like Gorilla Vs Bear. In November, 2011 the band released their long awaited full-length debut An Album By Korallreven. The album features vocals from ex-Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman on three tracks, whom you may also recognize as the female vocalist on the 2006 Peter Bjorn & John hit “Young Folks.”

If all you knew about Sweden was its indie music output from the last four years or so, you'd probably think it was a well-to-do Caribbean island nation, happily dancing the days away to the dreamy, positive vibrations of their electronic pop music. Groups including Air France, jj, The Tough Alliance and now Korallreven are all about tropical good times spiked with euphoria, tied together by hypnotic dance beats. These groups sound watery: the vocals are dipped in reverb, the synths swell and undulate in a mesmerizing cycle, and water seems to be everywhere in their imagery. Air France's video for “No Excuses” is a surfer paddling in rolling waves, The Tough Alliance's “First Class Riot” is full of rushing water and gliding dolphins while Korallreven's “The Truest Faith” is wave after pink-infused wave. Their music seems to be trying to communicate the transcendent, mystical beauty of everyday nature, and life in general, and what better way to capture that visually than intense close ups of the awe-inspiring, majestic ocean? If that last sentence sounded pretty new age-y well, so does the music. Marcus Joons and Daniel Tjäder are the duo behind Korallreven, and much of their 2011 debut An Album By Korallreven certainly shares some DNA with Enya. But don't be scared off by those comparisons, it's hard not to be swayed by Korallreven's beautiful blend of synths and vocal textures, so soft and welcoming it feels like sinking into a bed of billowing white sheets. “Sa Sa Samoa” begins with ethereal female vocals and synths that seem to shimmer in the distance, adding a hazy tribal chorus and euphoric keyboards above a dance beat that doesn't really sound like something you're supposed to dance to. In “As Young As Yesterday” ex-Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman breathes “sa sa samoa”(Joons was inspired to start the band after visiting Samoa) through a softly shining wall of synths. A steady kick drum drives things forward as blissed out, poppy synth chords blast you off to Korallreven's tropical fantasy.