The Mary Onettes – What I Feel In Some Places EP

I firmly believe that Peter Gabriel’s So is in the top five greatest pop albums of all time. The record offers up an immaculate brand of 80s synth pop that is infused with Gabriel’s experimental prog rock roots and worldbeat influences.

Judging by What I Feel In Some Places, Swedish pop quartet The Mary Onettes probably hold that record in a similar regard. This EP is dripping in the same sensibilities that made Peter Gabriel’s masterpiece such a stroke of genius.

The impression is immediate: after a moment of gentle atmosphere, a playful Afro-Cuban beat lopes into the title track, joined by lush synths and a funk-infused bass line that circles the room inviting bystanders to dance. Glassy guitars and catchy vocals join, completing the hook fest.

It’s followed by “Mind on Fire,” which adapts the sonic palette to a more straightforward groove and an even catchier chorus. You could almost hear it playing in a high school dance in a John Hughes film. Synth flutes flutter above the billowing synths as the tighter-than-tight rhythm section grabs hold of the rest of the band to keep them from floating away.

The EP is capped off by “Palace,” a delicate instrumental that pairs assertive pads, Casio-style electronic piano, and a crystalline acoustic guitar in a way that’s reminiscent of M83’s Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts. It’s an unexpected bit of ambient music from such a hook-filled EP, but it’s a welcome surprise. What’s more, it opens the curtain to the vibrant atmospheres that have been buoying the rest of the songs.

The only disappointing thing about the release is that there’s so little of it. I would gladly take a full album of this exact mood.

What I Feel In Some Places EP is out July 1 through Welfare Sounds.

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