Albums, Music, The Revue — October 30, 2017 at 5:35 am

Masasolo – ‘At Sixes and Sevens’ (album review)

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When Morten Søgaard introduced his new project Masasolo in early 2016 with their debut single, “Really Thought She Loved Me”, the immediate reaction was that Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker had suddenly decide to join Ruban Nielson’s outfit Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The song was an eye-opening introduction to, what was at the time, the newest addition to Copenhagen’s fast-expanding indie scene. In the course of the next eighteen months, Masasolo have shared several singles, and their fan base has gradually grown. The band’s popularity should rise more steadily now that their debut album, At Sixes and Sevens, is out for the rest of the world to hear.

Just like when they first emerged on the radar, At Sixes and Sevens is filled with psychedelic-pop gems reminiscent of the genre’s two leading men. The LP, though, is more than just an experience into the hallucinating and relaxing world of psychedelic pop and psych-disco. It is also an entry into the mind of a person and his personal struggles. At Sixes and Sevens is Søgaard revealing his fears and his entire soul, but he’s communicated them in a way that leaves the listener in awe.

Specifically, most of the record’s forty minutes feel like a cool breeze on a hot summer day, as a hazy, relaxing, and hallucinating vibe easily flows across the songs. The dreamy “Ordinary Day” is the first track to deliver the mind-altering feel. The soundscape complements Søgaard’s lyrics of trying to overcome the anxiety and depression that overwhelms him each day. Yet there is an element of hope that today will be different.

With its groovy, psychedelic disco center, “Idaho” takes the atmosphere high into the stratosphere. Instead of wanting to dance the night away, Søgaard’s lush vocals and his story about falling in love will have you running after the person who got away. This, however, isn’t an ordinary love song, as Søgaard describes his insecurities and nervousness about unveiling one’s emotions.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra-like romanticism swirls on the lovely “This Descender”, which sees Søgaard struggling to recount a painful memory. A similar intimate approach and revealing storyline fill “Then Comes The Rain”. The song is beautifully melodic, and the wind-swept soundscape sets the stage for Søgaard to explain his current state of mind. His story is one known by far too many people.

“Finally thought that it was time
To go and risk it all.
Stopped being scared of all the things
That could make your trip unfold.
But it is getting better now,
I try.
Yeah, I’m getting better now.
I can finally see the sky,
But then comes the rain.”

As an element of doubt begins to emerge, Masasolo brighten the air and return us to the coastline with “Maybe It’s Gonna Be Fine”. The song is more upbeat, as the synths, keys, and beats are played with more urgency. Consequently, an optimism rings throughout the track’s 6 minutes, and the three-minute instrumental that ends it is intoxicating.

There are moments where Masasolo let go and take us beyond the reaches of the imaginable. The opener, “Just As Real”, is an exhilarating and euphoric number. The multiple synths, crystalline guitars, and the humming rhythms drive the song to outer limits while Søgaard’s voice sounds like from another dimension. This otherworldly approach is the perfect canvas for this story of one person’s attempt to different reality from fantasy.

Crystal balls shine brightly across the psychedelic-disco number, “And To Know This”. Søgaard’s vocals are lush and bright while the instrumentation create the feeling one is soaring high above the clouds and watching the world unfold. This track is like a dream coming to life, and Søgaard’s lyrics, too, reflect how one can become lost in a dream.

“I use to truly believe in
That it would all get better in time.
That I would grow as a person,
But then it all seemed a lie.
All I had to do was
Find a place that I could break your hole.
Somewhere safe inside of me,
Someday you could go
And to know this.”

The one song that goes well into the galactic is “Blackie The Blue”. This far-out psychedelic-pop song makes Kevin Parker’s music seem for terrestrial. It is spacey, trippy, and dazzling all at once. Søgaard’s storytelling reaches new heights, as he tells of one person’s (or maybe an extra-terrestrial’s) travels to new worlds and trying to fit in. It is also the one song where the central character is some other than himself, but there is a feeling that he wishes he could be Blackie. That for one day or even lifetime he could be someone else and find his escape. In the interim, he has shared a significant part of himself on At Sixes and Sevens, and in the process allowed us to escape.

At Sixes and Sevens is out now, and the band is self-releasing it. As such, purchase it on iTunes or stream it on Spotify.

In addition to Morten Søgaard, Masasolo are Jacob Haubjerg, Anders Haaning, and Martin Birksteen. The band has a handful of shows scheduled in Denmark in November. Dates and information are available here.

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