REVIEW: WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE – KONKYLIE (2011)
The Danish foursome grew up together in the same neighborhood in Copenhagen. Having worked together on a tech-house side project called Kenton Slash Demon, keyboardist Jonas Kenton and drummer Silas Moldenhawer are well versed in club and house music. While blending jazz and neo-soul is keyboardist Simon Muschinsky’s specialty. With vocalist Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild’s layered and effervescent style laced throughout. When they all come together, When Saints Go Machine transcends genres effortlessly and brings people together like few others today can.
Konkylie is like a swirling electronic sundae with tribal, synth, funk, jazz and soul sprinkled on top. The title track starts out with Vonsild chanting in a hypnotic and monk-like fashion. A very minimal sound of wind and crickets builds into an ethereal whirlwind of synth-pop deliciousness with a choir-like eeriness.
The track “Add Ends” has a beautiful thread of classical strings swiming right along the edges of Vonsild’s enchanting vocals with delicate breakdowns of layered samples. The lyrics are spun metaphors that allude to a near triumph inevitably ending in defeat. The chorus kind of sums it up: “Blood in our hands, King of a rave, Never want to stop, Stop the time, take over! But we don’t know how, No need to solve this order! No hope to take on tonight, All is lost in.”
“Kelly” is the debut single off the album Konkylie, bringing a little more light and dance into the mix. With a bubbling bounced out bass that you can’t help but bob your head to kicking off from the start. Big hollow tin drum synths mix in to fill out the funky beat in between the floating keyboards. I think we can all relate to the first kiss that Vanslid wraps with his lovely falsettos. “The first time when Kelly kissed a boy, glow in the dark, arrow in her heart…the first time that Kelly kissed a boy, was an echo in smiles…all the colors in May found it boring and left. All that happiness feels like spring of our loneliness.” It is practically impossible not to move around when you are listening to this song.
They truly live up to their moniker when you listen to Konkylie. The angelic and haunting vocals intertwined with industrial electronic crunch and pop is what I might imagine saints would sounds like if they were machines. It’s the best bits of 80’s electro-pop with better production, less cheese and a lot more heart. Orchestral, industrial, pop, and dance are all rolled into Konkylie. When Saints Go Machine have melted together multiple styles to create their own inimitable sound.