The Mary Onettes - Islands

Album Review by Finbarr Bermingham | 13 Jan 2010
  • The Mary Onettes - Islands
Album title: Islands
Artist: The Mary Onettes
Label: Labrador
Release date: 25 Jan

Few nations have embraced the indie-pop aesthetic like the Swedes. From the outlandish kitsch of Jens Lekman, to the chart-bothering efforts of Peter, Bjorn and John and the irresistible twee of the Acid House Kings, the common denominator amongst the national roster is the capacity to nail a killer hook. The Mary Onettes are no exception. Their second album, Islands, doggedly revisits the 80s, coalescing flamboyant synth riffs with vocals sodden in reverb and bittersweet lyrics, tinged equally with sentimentality and naivety. The obvious nods are in the directions of Aha, ABC and The Human League (Dare is the perfect companion to Electric Dreams), but the gauze that envelopes the record suggests something slightly more sinister, perhaps a C86-imbued JAMC. The blissful chorus of opener Puzzles and the jangly guitar-led centrepiece God Knows I Had Plans are standout moments on an album that shows the Swedish pop conveyor belt shows no sign of packing in just yet. [Finbarr Bermingham]