We had to wait for six long years to get the new album from the duo The Sound of Arrowsfollowing up their amazing debut, Voyage (2011). After a surprise announcement of their return, two singles were released earlier this year, the ABBA-esque Beautiful Life and the electro-ballad In The Shade of Your Love. Last Friday, we finally received their sophomore album called Stay Free.
As introduced by the duo themselves on a Facebook post as an album about sadness and hope. Dedicated to all dreamers. Hold on, the mood of this album is pure nostalgia and fully projected into the future.
It is a natural evolution of the duo's first album in terms of musicality, rhythms and vocal melodies. The maturity developed for this work makes the tracks sound relevant and contemporary.
The title track Stay Free is announced by an intro, or opening titles as it is referred to, which ends with a hint of a female voice that we will discover later on in the LP (and for which we at popstonesheroes were terribly excited for when we heard about it... but wait for it.). The track contains a long instrumental refrain, while the lyrics are all about the importance of possessing the freedom for a full self-consciousness, I don't know yet who I wanna be, so I stay free.
The following two tracks are a celebration of the Beautiful Life and the empowering Don't Worry which convey the message of hope with a mid-tempo feeling.
The Greatest brings the mood back up with more drums and a more energetic rhythm. A very enjoyable track and one of the few ones that feel addressed to a particular person (a lover?) rather than a more wider public, or a generation if we want to.
Track 7 is the real deal. We went completely crazy about this. It is called Wicked Waysand the collaboration we were teased to in the intro of this album is the brilliant Norwegian singer Annie. The track represents the ultimate essence of The Sound of Arrows and the daughter of, to our taste, the best song from Voyage, i.e. Ruins of Rome. The melancholic sound is enveloping and the spoken verses are hunting. The chorus kicks in, with a reminiscence of Enjoy the Silence, this song is the absolute stand out of the album. They did it again, just like the first time around. Really well done, guys.
Perfect continuation of the album with the slow motion Moment in the Sun where the repeating chorus goes beautifully on with give me one try and I will come alive, give me one moment in the sun.
Hold on is the other stand out of the album. Mentioned in the Facebook post, this might represent the album message at its finest. Holding onto life looking for a better future, cause we never know what we will find next. A message of hope paired with a dark sound is another touch of the great creativity of this act. Add this to your playlists, guys, it will give you a good kick of energy and motivation!
Towards the end of the album, we find Another World, which sets back the mood of a slow and relaxed sound and gives us feelings of an electro-evolved Nocturne (the Norwegian entry - and winner- for the ESC 1995). Beautiful.
In The Shade of Your Love is the other important collaboration of the album with Niki and The Dove. We have learnt to love the guess voice on this track released earlier this year. Together with the already mentioned The Greatest, this is directed to a lover, as a message of gratitude for the shelter provided by the other's love.
The album closes with We Will Live Again which reprises the there is no beginning of the opening titles as a back cover of this concept album.
What to say? Overall another great work. Six long years, not a disappointment at all. Stand out tracks:
Wicked Ways, Hold On, Another World, Stay Free and the two singles.
COLLECTORS ALERT: they are selling freaking beautiful vinyl version of this LP on their official store, go grab it at https://kontraband.store/thesoundofarrows/