Swedish Synthpop trio Vogon Poetry promise something a bit unusual and different with their music. Whilst it’s still very much in the realms of the genre, it has a more sci-fi edge to it, and their third outing Life, The Universe and Everything is no exception to this.
The science fiction feel cannot be understated here, as Vogon Poetry’s music is a massive homage to it in general. Although I’m sure that the band’s name, and the title of this album (both being references to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams), should have given that away. The record is laden with references throughout, and the futuristic soundscapes of the music only compliment these themes. It’s quite a fun and interesting way to present this concept, and it really is cleverly implemented here.
Opener “The Upside Down” gets the ball rolling quite quickly, as deep bass filled electro and progressive synths fill the track. The clear-cut vocals, delivered by John Andersson, are very striking, and truly stand out. If you hadn’t guessed already, this track is based on Netflix’s Stranger Things, and there are even various samples from the show used throughout. Whilst this one has a slower, more moody feel, the second song, and lead single, “Dangers of Space” picks up the pace. It has a speedy, catchy rhythm, and an atmosphere that successfully captures that of a classic sci-fi show or film. The chorus has a very sing-along feel to it, and is filled with textures of synths that create a brilliant atmosphere. “Children of Mine” begins with synths that are captivating, and complemented by piano notes. As the song progresses, these elements build up, until a hypnotic drum beat kicks in, completing the feel of this song. Next up, the S.P.O.C.K cover of “In Space No One Can Hear You Scream” is pretty well done, and the band make it their own, with chunky sounding electro and a driving melody. “Heart of Gold” has a frantic pace to it, and a sense of urgency to it’s tone. It has a very poppy feel, is probably the catchiest track of the album, and perhaps my favourite. The conglomeration of synth layers during the instrumental section of this track are beautifully arranged, and the pounding rhythm makes it extremely danceable. “Spacewalk” is filled with a dark ambience and captures a very 80’s feel, all whilst blending in samples in a very natural way. “Serenity” is once again another reference to a sci-fi classic. This time, Joss Whedon’s Firefly (which was ripped away from us too soon, and I’m still not over.) Although more accurately, it uses samples from the film Serenity, but it’s still the same thing! This instrumental track has a feel that is extremely easy to get drawn into, and some moments echo that of the legendary Kraftwerk. The band seem to have channelled Erasure for the Closing track “Tomorrow”. It’s unapologetically classic synthpop, utilising wonderful melodies and synthscapes.
It would be easy to consider Vogon Poetry as a joke band, and to compare them to the likes of S.P.O.C.K when reading it on paper (or in this case, screen!) However, they have an extremely unique feel, and there’s a strong emotional tone to their music that makes them stand out. The melodies throughout Life, The Universe and Everything are glorious, and John Andersson’s vocal delivery is absolutely fantastic! The band themselves describe this as ‘a musical journey into the world of enthralling space adventures as well as winding paths down the corridors of the mind.’ Quite frankly, that could not be any more accurate, with each song feeling like it’s own journey, making up a strong collection of songs that are joyous sci-fi nostalgia!
Final Verdict: Glorious synthscapes and vocals make for an amazing synthpop album that’s strongly contextualised within a sci-fi concept. It’s a love letter to everything science-fiction, and it’s a superbly unique experience.
Life, The Universe and Everything can be purchased at the official Vogon Poetry Bandcamp page here: http://vogonpoetrymusic.bandcamp.com/
The band will also play at Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, Germany on 18th May. Check out the official video for their leader single “Dangers of Space” below.
The Upside Down
Dangers Of Space
Children of Mine
In Space No One Can Hear You Scream
Heart of Gold