This week the debut album “Dance Sunshine, Dance” by Another Juggle was released. Indie Pop-Ups are fans since the Danish band’s first single early 2014, so we are very honoured to review their album. We took the chance to ask for their thoughts on inspiration and the band’s particular sound.
Another Juggle is a band from Copenhagen, Denmark. The four members are Nikolaj Dalsgård (lead vocals, synths), Emil Eggert Scherrebeck (drums, synths), Thomas Haahr (guitar, synths) and Anders Cederblad (percussion, guitar, vocals). They have been making music together for 3 years now. Before Another Juggle the four members of the band played together in an indierock band consisting of six people. After this band broke up and two guys left, the four remaining members began working on finding a new sound. And soon here after Another Juggle was born.
Their sound changed to more synthpop. The reason was Emil’s Roland Juno-106 synthesizer, on which they started jamming baselines and short hooks, the band tells us. From there a fascination for old school synths and their nostalgic sound was born. They ended up buying classic synths that you can hear throughout the album.
“We all felt that we wanted to do something much less guitar orientated compared to the old band, so we really started experimenting with synths and sampled drums.”
One of the results from those early sessions was their first single “Dear Laika“, which we at Indie Pop-Ups described as ‘sparkling indiepop with clever rhythmic hooks & lovely 80s synths‘. Last year the follow-up single “Dance Sunshine, Dance” continued the 80s inspired sound with ‘a best-of-80s blend of Album Oriented Rock (AOR), italo disco and synthwave‘ according to us.
When you hear the songs you would easily call their sound ‘synthpop’. But actually, the band prefers ‘dreampop’, “maybe mixed up with bit of synthwave and indiepop”, they add. That becomes more clear if you know their inspirations. They don’t name 80s artists, but the less obvious Twin Shadow, Wild Nothing, Cut Copy and Beach House.
The band characterize their songwriting effectively as ‘Nordic melancholy‘. Combined with programmed drum beats, analog synthesizers from the 80s and melodic guitar lines, it creates a tension between the melancholy and introspective on one hand, and the danceable and sometimes grandiose on the other.
“The new album is an expression of the strong emotional contrast you experience when you are way down – when you are stuck – and when the world at the same time is like a huge dance floor with music pumping recklessly on. It’s about broken hearts and depression, but it’s also about trying to get back in sync with the world – and at the same time perhaps not to succeed.”
And that’s exactly what it is to expect on their debut album; melancholic songs, but with hopeful and and uplifting melodies. With midtempo songs that are hopeful but not cheerful, as if the slow beats are holding you back (like the opening song and new single “Not Now”). With more outspoken uptempo dance songs like the title track or “Cities Crash”. With a song like “Faceless Demons” that starts out as an introspective ballad until halfway a house drum drops, making it a hypnotic, dreamy dance tune. One of the best songs is the last song “Coins”, with lyrics and sound that perfectly capture the mood between closure and hope for reconcile. Personally we think it is a perfect song for driving into the sunset, with the transition from day to night being the best moment for introspection and reminiscence.
Every song is carefully constructed it seems, combining several characteristics of 80s genres and styles. But what’s important and hugely remarkable is that it sounds so natural with every single one. Nowhere is a ‘pick & grab’ nor a ‘copy-paste’ moment to be found; every song seems to be coming from the band’s collective mind which was purposely filled with a melting pot of fantastic 80s tunes and dreampop songs.
This is not retropop per se, as the band doesn’t want to bring you back to the 80s, like for example Freeweights, Paradise Walk and Tesla Boy do. The band uses the melancholic qualities of 80s musical instruments and 80s song structures to capture emotions, moods and thoughts, and transfer them to you, the listener. With full effect we might add! An exceptional debut.