Blue Hawaii have been around for a couple of years now, but their upcoming first album represents a fresh start for the Montreal-based duo. Untogether is out on March 4/5th under Canadian record label Arbutus, but can already be pre-ordered. And trust me, you don’t want to miss this release.
First of all, because Arbutus is one of the coolest record labels around these days. It’s home to one of the best discoveries of 2012 (does the name Grimes tell you something?) and to other sweet gems like dream-pop band TOPS.
Secondly, you might have already met half of the duo somewhere else: Raph Standell Preston (“Ra”) is the lead singer in band BRAIDS. The other half, Agor (aka Alexander Cowan) has been part of the European electronic music scene for the past couple of years.
One thing is for sure: the 2010 EP Blooming Summer and the upcoming album Untogether couldn’t be more different. The environment where these two art pieces were born may in part explain this dissimilarity: Blooming Summer saw the light of day after a journey to Central America, hence the tropical pop vibes, mixed with some cosy chillwave, similar to the soundscapes that Work Drugs create.
Agor and Ra started recording Untogether a bit more than one year ago, on New Years Day to be more precise. Like the cold Vancouver winter, Untogether is algid. Electropop fans will be happy to know that synthesizers are the big protagonists on this album. Ra’s voice is used as an instrument in itself rather than as a mean to convey lyrics, following in the wake of Alice Glass, the female counterpart in Canadian star duo Crystal Castles, on their 2012 album (III).
After Blooming Summer, Ra and Agor spent some time apart working on their individual projects, but Untogether is definitely worth the wait. The first song from the album to be revealed was “Try to Be”, which you can stream below. It’s an appropriate choice, since it captures well what the whole album will sound like. The entire production is finely chiselled and every instrument falls into its proper place, in a harmonious flow through track after track.