Phantom Island, the Swedish duo’s first album in nearly nine years, is set for release this November. Joakim Åhlund and Björn Yttling are back to ride the hype with a new collection of songs which includes guest appearances from Andrew Innes (Primal Scream) and Swedish singer-songwriter, Robyn on the single, “Call My Name”. The duo themselves say that the record encompasses, “all our cherished musical expressions and styles”.
”Phantom Islands are mythical things that surface and appear in front of weary seafarers or castaways, only to disappear again later in a shroud of mystery never to be found again. We kind of felt that this music project has a lot of similarities with that”, explains Björn.
”Also, when we found some recordings and songs we had done together years ago, we felt like we had salvaged a sunken treasure or something” adds Joakim.
Formed in 2011 by two of Sweden’s most notable pop practitioners: Björn Yttling of indie pop band, Peter, Bjorn & John and an accomplished writer and producer for a slew of artists including Lykke Li, Primal Scream, Chrissie Hynde, Franz Ferdinand – and Joakim Åhlund of the mercurial, electro-rock collectives, Teddybears and Caesars, and also a songwriter and producer, working with Giorgio Moroder, Robyn and Charli XCX.
“It started out as a studio-project” explains Björn. “Me and Jocke had been wanting to do something together for a long time, so we just booked some studio time and invited some friends to have a jam session.” Their session resulted in the first album, A Flash In The Night, which was released in 2012.
Earlier this year, the band released “Kylie” the first taster from the album – a beautiful dreamy, cinematic track reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks, but with a driving beat that makes you think of the groovier side of krautrock acts such as Can.
The music of Smile has echoes of motorik krautrock beats, analogue synths and Ennio Morricone-style cinematic soundscapes, but always with a strong melodic presence. A typical Swedish style of melancholy exists in many of the tracks, and even a hint of moody Black Devil Disco-style vocoder-Disco in the song, ”Dressed For Success”.