Review: Page – Hemma

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Page’s latest album is called Hemma (At Home), but make no mistake: this is not music for sofas. No, no no. Page’s follow-up to their 2010 relaunch is the soundtrack to a good night out. Laced with disco, glam rock and punk influences, the songs on Hemma are for getting ready, driving and dancing. Not to some retro school disco, either – these are grown-up, sophisticated pop tracks that nod to their roots but are right in the moment.

The lead track, Som en skal (Like a Shell), is also the first single, remixed and released on two ultra-limited edition 3″ CDs. The album version is stunning; a demonstration of singer and songwriter Eddie Bengtsson’s ability to forge sounds and melodies with maximum emotional impact. To get an idea of the sound, think of The House of Love’s Christine reimagined by Kraftwerk before Karl Bartos left. A bonus remix from producer Håkan Hultberg ramps up the glamour with a Giorgio Moroder feel.

With the last Page album, Nu (Now), Bengtsson confirmed his ability to write superlative popand Hemma proves that its quality and integrity was no lucky strike. There isn’t a single filler track on the album, even with twelve songs to choose from. Instead, there are little touches that point to Page’s influences more directly than previously: here, some toms that suggest the rhythm track on OMD’s Enola Gay; there, a radio dial that tunes into a snarling John Lydon. “Hey!” calls a looped voice, synced with a stomping rhythm line that fits the “glamtronica” theme of Bengtsson’s recent remixes and cover tunes. Page glide effortlessly between and among a range of styles from the 1970s and 80s, while keeping up the tempo and avoiding cliches.

Smakar som förr (Tastes Like Before), for example, occupies a space bounded by Cerrone’s Supernature, on one side, and Giorgio Moroder’s Chase, on the other. Through analogue alchemy and Moog filters, it pulses and purrs with energy. In the 70s, this kind of track would have been mixed into a 14 minute version and accompanied in clubs by live drummers. You can simulate that effect during your commute by putting the song on repeat and tapping along on your steering wheel.

Other stand-out tracks include Djur (Animal) and Lyssnade på min radio (Listened to My Radio), which prove again that Page are really peerless when it comes to melodic and stylish synthpop.

Page don’t “twerk” or wear meat dresses to get attention, so it is questionable whether commercial radio or music TV will make room for songs of this quality. The attitude of the mainstream media is that they can take it or leave it – but that’s their mistake. If you don’t bring Hemma into your home, then the loss will be entirely your own.

Hemma is out now on Wonderland Records

 

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