When Saints Go Machine’s 2011 release, Konkylie, was an easily digestible exercise in synth-pop that garnered the four-piece a heap of awards in their native Denmark. Infinity Pool, the group’s third full-length release, is a determined approach to sway the band from the euphoria of the dance floor to the intimate, erudite spaces of isolation. This is fitting, given that they revealed that both the countryside house that birthed Konkylie and a brief attempt to record in a large studio proved fruitless this go-around. Infinity Pool came from chaos: individual recordings done at home, later pieced together and married into 12 tracks are not nearly as disjointed as one might initially expect.
One exception to the aforementioned cohesiveness is the album’s most intriguing number, both its first song and lead single, “Love and Respect”. The track is anchored by Atlanta rapper and OutKast collaborator Killer Mike, who showers his peers in, yes, love and respect. Giving the lead position on such an important song to a very surprising collaborator is a refreshing, invigorating move that sets the stage for the rest of the album. From there, the tracks interact with one another beautifully.
A spin through this record proves more demanding than their last, as darker, harder electronics replace their sophomore effort’s buoyant synths. But frontman Nikolaj Manual Vonsild’s soaring vibrato is a delightful constant from those dark electronics, and his voice takes the spotlight on sparse tracks like “Infinity Killer”, “Degeneration”, and “Dead Boy”. “Mannequin”, the album’s most grabbing number, layers the group’s electronica for a catchy chorus before stripping down and building back up with a strings-inspired finale.
The record’s name feels more and more applicable as the tracks conclude: it’s a deep dive that, while not as accessible as the band’s previous works, proves they’ve chosen experimentation over stagnancy. Love and respect, indeed.
Essential Tracks: “Love and Respect”, “Mannequin”