Amber Arcades – European Heartbreak
There’s not a single track on European Heartbreak that isn’t a beautifully composed, shining picture postcard of emotion
European Heartbreak is the utterly gorgeous new album from Dutch singer-songwriter Annelotte De Graaf, a tale of identity, loss and picking up the pieces told through the medium of impeccably crafted pop music that will leave you swooning.
“For me, a heartbreak symbolises any kind of falling apart of one of these concepts or stories we invent for ourselves, like romantic love, a sense of identity, nationality, an economic system. It’s kind of a universal thing in my mind.” De Graaf declares in the notes accompanying the record and all of this and more is wrapped up in European Heartbreak’s 11 loosely conceptual tracks.
From the stately strings on Goodnight Europe to the plea for adventure as she croons 'Everything's been done / But not by you and me' on the crisply melodic Alpine Town, this is pop music with a bittersweet centre but a sugar coating so beautifully assembled that it slips effortlessly into the deep recesses of your brain. There’s so much joy captured in the jaunty piano of I’ve Done the Best and the lovestruck Oh My Love (What Have We Done), that it’s hard to believe that when she’s not making music De Graaf is working on war crimes trials for the UN.
There are touches of the Magnetic Fields in the arrangements, the effortless melodies of Teenage Fanclub or a less abstract iteration of Beach House, but when De Graaf waltzes through the slide guitar assisted Antoine or the potent power pop of Where Did You Go she’s so perfectly in command of her medium that it’s astonishing.
There’s not a single track on European Heartbreak that isn’t a beautifully composed, shining picture postcard of emotion from a songwriter you should be listening to right now.
Listen to: Oh My Love, Goodnight Europe