ROOM8 feat. The Sound of Arrows – Only You

“This is so bland that it doesn’t even really leave any impression at all.”

Tim: Couple of years ago these two acts teamed up to bring us the fairly good Just You & I, and now we’ve this, with what I think is a first, from The Sound of Arrows at least: a ballad. And it’s…

Tom: …24fps horizontal movie shots letterboxed into a stuttering 50fps vertical video. That absolutely makes sense. Whoever did the editing on this is a prat.

Tim: Yeah, it’s a horrible video. Slightly alright concept, appalling execution.

Tom: Sorry, you were probably talking about the music, weren’t you?

Tim: Mainly, yes, and it’s very, very 1980s for starters. Yes, we’ve the genre and sound in general, but we’ve also the aforementioned music video with various ’80s high school movies, and the real clincher of the fade out ending. I’ll be honest: I’m not particularly keen on it, which I think is another first for a Sound of Arrows track.

Tom: I do remember you like the Sound of Arrows a lot, which, uh, feels like the only reason we’re talking about this. This is so bland that it doesn’t even really leave any impression at all.

Tim: Well, your hunch is right: it is only here because it’s a Sound of Arrows track, and normally they’re great. I don’t feel too bad about saying this is rubbish, though, what with them being just a feat. rather than being the main artist, but it still feels weird to say. It’s too slow, too mopey, too…yeah, just, not for me really. Shame.

The Sound of Arrows – Perfect Circle

“This opening track is a blinder.”

Tim: I’m going to see these guys perform tonight and I’m VERY excited, not least because last Friday they dropped an EP of off-cuts, remixes and instrumentals out of nowhere.

Tom: Ah, the old “let’s get a bit more money from the fans” trick.

Tim: Huh, I’d not thought of it like that, because I’ve just assumed everybody streams music – certainly in Sweden, where three fifths of all households subscribe to a streaming service. They framed it as “here’s something we think you’ll like”, and the only link provided was to it on Spotify.

Tom: Huh. Yes, that’s fair. Although it still means they get more money, even if it’s indirectly.

Tim: Anyway, it’s a mixed bag, as you might expect, but this opening track is a blinder.

Tim: Now we all know these guys are my favourite band of all time; perhaps less well known is that Hurts are my second favourite band (with Busted a close third, @ me at your peril). It therefore absolutely delights me that this actually wouldn’t sound too out of place on a current Hurts album, vocal differences aside – and I don’t think I’m saying that just because that opening piano triplet is off a Hurts song, which I can’t place exactly right now.

Tom: The Sound of Arrows have often left me cold — I know, they’re your favourite — but I’ll admit that there are some really lovely parts in here. That pre-chorus, with its octave-leaping, and the first parts of that instrumental chorus. I can see why you like it.

Tim: Synth notes, piano notes giving way to large drumbeats for much of the instrumentation, and even a vaguely reverent vibe to it. It all fits together nicely, and sounds gosh darn wonderful.

The Sound of Arrows – Don’t Worry

“A wonderful slow-builder, and possibly the best one of theirs that I’ve ever heard.”

Tom: From the title, I’ve got a prediction: you’ll love it, I’ll be indifferent. Tim, start your pitch.

Tim: Well, after SIX YEARS, this wonderful band’s second album finally arrived last Friday, and having had plenty of opportunity to listen to it I can declare it, you’ll be relieved but probably not surprised to hear, absolutely wonderful. From it’s glorious intro, through its superb second track Stay Free and beyond all the way to the Lion King stylings of the closing We Will Live Again, via delights like the Moby-esque Wicked Ways, it is a divine listen. Right now, though, we’ll chat about track 4, because that’s the one they’ve just put a video out for.

Tom: Oh. Huh. That… I like that.

Tim: Really? That actually surprises me, because curiously, it’s not one of the best on the album (at least in my view, anyway), and does have a few drawbacks.

Tom: Ah! Then I think this might be the track that’s designed to appeal to the mainstream — hence it’s the first single.

Tim: Well, the first single was actually Beautiful Life, but timing-wise we’ll go with this.

Tom: This is a wonderful slow-builder, and possibly the best one of theirs that I’ve ever heard. Yes, that includes all the previous attempts of yours to promote their tracks to me. Why isn’t it great for you?

Tim: It takes a while to get going, and while that underlying melody that kicks in halfway through is lovely to listen to, it gets repetitive not long after.

Tom: For me, it feels more like the sort of track that’d fit in nicely on Isles of Wonder. Which is a heck of compliment. Remember that? That was a good year.

Tim: When the single biggest political story was George Osborne getting booed. Simpler and better times. But let’s not get lost in nostalgia – let’s talk about the final chorus, which as with most tracks is where everything really shines, especially with those oooh-ooohs coming along. Having said that: I reiterate that the album as a whole is lovely, so just ignore this negativity, put your feet up for 45 minutes, sit back and just listen to it. You owe it to yourself, you really do.

ROOM8 feat. The Sound Of Arrows – Just You & I

“I am somewhat FUMING”

Tim: Okay first off I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly call out The Sound Of Arrows’s social media strategy as being an utter fiasco, because this came out four weeks ago yet it hasn’t been mentioned ONCE on any of their online channels and to be honest I am somewhat FUMING to have only discovered it now, but anyway here it is.

Tom: Background, in case our reader doesn’t remember: Tim loves The Sound of Arrows, I’m somewhat ambivalent.

Tim: ROOM8 are a blend of Sweden and America, and describe themselves, via the frequently reliable Popjustice, as a pair that “combines elements of modern pop and RnB” which to be honest would put me right off if that was actually what this song was, but let’s face it it’s basically just a plain old Sound Of Arrows track, and actually a fairly good one at that.

I know I’ve always had more of a thing for them than you have, but surely you can appreciate the quality we have here?

Tom: So I was all set to say ‘yep, sure, it’s okay I guess’, and then I realised I was tapping my foot. I’ll admit that’s a really good chorus melody. It’s not a ‘download it immediately’, but sure, it’s good.

Tim: It’s a lovely sound, gorgeous vocals, and I could listen to it many times over and over again. It’s great.

The Sound of Arrows – Beautiful Life

“This is so much of what I wanted.”

Tim: It has been SIX YEARS in the making, but we now have new music from the triumph of a band that is The Sound of Arrows.

Tim: Now I don’t know if this is just because I’m so happy that a new track has come along, but oh this is so, well, beautiful.

Tom: And here I am just wanting to sing “Dancing Queen” over the chorus.

Tim: Those strings! The swooshing around in the background! The piano intro that exists in the full length version that’s on your streaming services! The gentle vocal! The fabulous simple message of the whole thing!

Tom: Yes, I thought you might be enthusiastic. It’s… it’s a bit Lighthouse Family, though, isn’t it?

Tim: Oh, please, no. I’m fairly sure I am definitely getting slightly overexcited here, but it’s been such a long wait, and this is so much of what I wanted.

Tom: I’ll admit I love string sections, and yes – there’s nothing particularly wrong with it. It’s not something I’d get excited about, but then, The Sound of Arrows never really were for me. For the fans, though?

Tim: Fingers very much crossed for an album, or at least another track that’s less than six years away.

The Sound of Arrows – There is Still Hope (Fear of Tigers Remix)

“Bloody hell. That’s an amazing remix.”

Tim: The Sound of Arrows stuck a remix version of their still wonderful debut album on their website about six months back, and this wasn’t on it, because it only appeared online last week.

Tom: Bloody hell. That’s an amazing remix.

Tim: It’s not a proper release, but it is a damn good song almost reinterpreted, more than anything else. The original was good, but not as hands in the air, rave to the massive (yep) as this —

Tom: You know, I was going to argue with you about “rave to the massive”, but I reckon it’s actually the right phrase to use.

Tim: — more of a (very) slow builder that eventually reached this sort of level. I say reinterpretation because, well, the hope that there still is originally wasn’t so prevalent, what with it taking a while to arrive and stuff – yes, there’s hope, but we may well have a long journey ahead of us before things really improve. Here, though it doesn’t waste any time at all – it’s big, it’s bright, and things are getting better right now. As they should.

Though of course, I could be way overanalysing this and it’s actually just a jumped-up bigger version of the original. Either’s good.

Tom: It is indeed — and I hit the “download” button on SoundCloud pretty damn fast. Interestingly, the resulting file is “TISH 3.5.1.mp3” — implying that there are some other versions of this remix sitting on a producer’s hard drive somewhere. I’m glad this is the one that made it out.

The Sound of Arrows – Conquest

…it’s beautiful.

Tim: This video contains BOOBIES, but it’s meant to be artistic so that’s alright.

Tom: That’s still enough to get it banned from YouTube. That’s what Vimeo’s for.

Tom: Is this featuring Jean Michel Jarre? Because that opening is straight out of Oxygene.

Tim: Not as far as I know, but anyway, it’s ESSAY TIME!

Tom: Oops. Sorry. I’ll settle down.

Tim: Now, I love these guys. Their album is one of the best I’ve heard in a long long time, and I don’t think I’ve ever gone even a week without listening to them. But to be honest, I’m a tad disappointed here, and that’s a shame. Partly because there are some vastly better tracks than this on the album (though it should go without saying that I still think it’s great), and secondly, and mostly, because that video really is…well, it’s a pile of pretentious wank, isn’t it? I mean, seriously, what’s going on?

Tom: I don’t know – but my first reaction isn’t to immediately dismiss it, which is strange for me. My first reaction is that this is a beautiful video. That’s the word that came to mind. Beautiful. The combination of music, colour, and absolutely gorgeous cinematography… it’s beautiful.

Tim: Oh, yes, it’s a lovely piece of work, I won’t deny that. It’s just… what is it?

The thing is, The Sound of Arrows are, without a doubt, one of the most, erm, sincere groups around. Is that the word I mean? Basically, they treat their music like art – the album is actually an album rather than a collection of songs, what with the way they go together and have an order they should be played in. The videos they make have something to them where you can tell that effort has been made into putting them together, so they go with the song in an almost cinematic manner.

Tom: And let’s not forget the music: this, with its proper synth line, has hit me a lot harder than anything they’ve brought out before. I didn’t just throw this away as glurgy, Owl City, bleep-bloop soft rubbish… it’s a fantastic track. I can’t think of what it reminds me of, other than Jean Michel Jarre.

Tim: It is indeed fantastic, as has been almost all of their output. And this is sort of nitpicking, really, because I wouldn’t analyse anyone else’s videos like this. I’m doing it BECAUSE I CARE.

Previously, we had Nova, with its message of huge devotion and adoration, and the video shows the two of them exploring this fantastic cave, always looking for what’s coming next and gazing brilliantly at what’s already happening. Then there was Magic, with the theme of how fantastic the world is, and the video showing kids exploring it, always finding new ways to have fun and enjoy themselves. Wonders was looking back at past times, with a video (which got put up after we discussed it) filled with clips shot and fiddled with to look dated compared with the filming of them singing. And then there’s this, which is…what? Am I missing something? Because I just don’t get it. And I hate that.

Tom: I think, for the first time, I do get it. Not in a meaningful sense, but some of the feelings and emotions they’re trying to get across. That’s a strange feeling for me.

Tim: I guess you’re right. I suppose I just want something a bit more obvious, really.

But regardless of all that, buy the album. Just, buy it. You owe it to yourself.

The Sound of Arrows – Wonders

Just as spaced out and trancey as ever.

Tim: Barely a fortnight now until Voyage is released, and here’s a new single to accompany it.

Tom: I remember, the last time we discussed The Sound of Arrows, that I had trouble putting them into a genre. Well, no more: this is trance, surely?

Tim: It’s just as spaced out and trancey as ever, and I love it. You push play, you lie back, and you drift away. All it needs is a video along the lines of Nova and it’ll be perfect. You hear me? PERFECT.

Tom: Perfect?

Tim: Well, maybe not perfect, because it’s actually not as good as Nova or M.A.G.I.C. were, but still. Very good nonetheless.

Tom: Despite the dodgy sci-fi laser-beam sound effects, I’ve got to agree.

The Sound of Arrows – Magic

It’s AMAZING. And you would be wrong to disagree.

Tim: Released as an EP a couple of years back, this song has been fiddled around with and as of yesterday has a video and, according to their Twitter babblings, a re-release date of August. And, well, it’s AMAZING. And you would be wrong to disagree. But I have a feeling you will, somewhat strongly.

Tom: All right, I’ll brace myself.

Tim: So before you listen, please do two things for me:

  1. Remember that we like The Sound of Arrows a lot, because their music is very good.
  2. Be in a Common People frame of mind, rather than an In A Country Churchyard one.

Oh, and turn on HD and put it full screen.

Tom: Right. I will do this.

Tim: OH MY GOD I LOVE IT SO MUCH. The adults are gone, the kids are a bit nervous but then they’re in a world where they can do what they want, and play nicely, and vandalise a car or two. It’s everything we wanted to do when we were kids but weren’t allowed. It’s PROPER.

Tom: And all it took was six billion people to be exterminated. Well, that might not be true: they might have been snatched away from their families and sent to some kind of duplicate Earth filled with inexplicable monsters, but either way that’s a pretty bleak thought.

Tim: EVERYTHING WE WANTED TO DO. They ‘seize a chance, follow a dream’. Because ‘there are wonders we haven’t seen yet.’ This whole video, it’s, well if I was in a cynical mood, I’d probably be all—no, you know what? This would pull me right out of that mood. Example? I translated the note she was writing to her parents, and I actually went ‘ahhhh’. Here.

Tom: And you’ll keep doing that right until one of them gets a cut and dies of gangrene.

Tim: Well, aren’t we the optimist today? Also, and this will come as no shock to you whatsoever, I want Pom-Pom in my life. Now. Main question, I suppose, is would I like it if I hadn’t sen the video? And, well, I don’t care, because I have seen the video, and I have SUCH A HUGE GRIN on my face right now, and whatever you think, just remember: The W.O.R.L.D. is full of M.A.G.I.C.

Tom: Here’s the thing: I went back and listened to the track again, on its own, without the video, without the kids’ voices. And then I got it. Then I got the huge grin. It doesn’t need the video. It’s an amazing, almost OMD-like bit of music – and from me, that’s a very high compliment – and I love it.


Tom: When I’m not being distracted by the possible extermination of six billion people and the inevitable death of the children, I think it’s lovely.

The Sound of Arrows – Nova

It’s like honey.

Tim: Sit back, close your eyes, listen.

Tim: I really really like this – pretty much Sunrise Avenue one-track repeat all day levels of like, in fact. This tune, from two Swedish chaps, seems to me like a tune it’s impossible to dislike, and not because it’s just a fairly boring one that doesn’t do anything special or interesting at all, because it does.

Tom: It’s got a long build before it kicks in, but it’s worth it. It’s like the musical equivalent of honey: notes seem to slide slowly over each other. I think I just beat our record for “worst simile”.

Tim: Strangest, perhaps, but not worst – I know exactly what you mean and it does describe it quite well. It’s sort of mystical in parts, which I think is lovely – the video as well is great, it’s a bit woo-oo-oh.

Tom: In the wide, fuzzy shots, I can’t help but think that the lead singer does look a bit like Abed from the NBC sitcom Community – it’s the lankiness and the hair – which means I can’t really take it seriously. Can’t deny it’s a good song, though; very listenable.

Tim: It’s a song that sort of carries you along, almost bouncing gently on a cloud of…um…cloudy stuff. You know, it seems hard to describe this song without coming across as though I’m on drugs. Just…oh, I don’t know. It’s great. I can’t describe exactly why it’s great, but it is.

Tom: And in that, I agree with you.