There's a terrible, terrible tendency amongst some pop fans to think that anything that comes out of Scandinavia is immediately to be pounced on and rubbed up against without any kind of rational thinking. It kind of annoys me slightly. Nationality and imaginary borders mean nothing in life, and therefore in pop music.
Let me say this: 'Rule of Thirds' is brilliant. It's the kind of electropop album that most often strive to make, but very often fail by trying to be too clever. Tobias Isaksson, who seems to be something of Real Pop Hero in his native Sweden, doesn't have to try too hard. Each of these songs seems to float by in a kind of cosy dreamlike state, never really asking you to think too hard, but always managing to catch your attention.
Azure Blue are the musical equivalent of Coronation Street, you might say: comfortable; assured; definitely pleasing; and certain to appeal to 65 year olds from Wigan. That last point might need some work, but you get my drift.
It's about ten years since I discovered Matinee Records (or Recordings, if you will). Back then they were putting stuff out by The Windmills and Airport Girl and it was great. Right now they're putting stuff out like Azure Blue and it's still as great. That there is the definition of not only a great group of bands, but a wonderful record label. Long may it continue.
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