In 2016, Morten Søgaard delivered a more than promising EP. One of those breaking down barriers, opening doors; media attention, airplay, bigger shows, and all these things smelling like a breakthrough. Releasing a debut full-length means hopefully taking the next step, and – once again – putting on a Masasolo vinyl isn’t a disappointment.
The album cover depicts a dark space completely covered in colored dots, almost resembling stars in outer space. In the middle, a person is walking through what looks like a doorway either coming from the space with the dots or looking towards it, standing in a bright exploding light. Artistic and metaphorical.
Morten Søgaard has explained that the album depicts the despair and internal division you might feel when growing up and having to be responsible for yourself and your actions. The cover must then illustrate this transition of coming from one mindset to the other, and having to take new things and responsibilities into consideration. Whether he is coming from the light or moving towards the light is not for me to interpret.
‘At Sixes and Sevens’, a 40-minute wandering in the psychedelic mind of the before mentioned Morten, takes off with “Just As Real”. At first listen, it might seem a bit messy. Especially, the keys playing in a continuous change from low to high-pitched tones distracted me a bit, always there, chanting in the background. But then you go through it again, and maybe even a third time, and you start feeling comfortable with it. Maybe even like the fact that it changes from a bit chaotic, upbeat verse to a slower signature chorus. Here, you can also sense a spacey mysterious melody, almost similar to the Stranger Things soundtrack (you know, the weird and alien-esque series on Netflix that everybody’s been talking about, having this 80’ies E.T. vibe). Or that’s at least the association I get, without the creepy parts.
The cheery and breezy component of this album is definitely ‘And To Know This’. The firm drum beat that strikes right from the beginning, the soft guitar strokes and the lighthearted atmosphere created by keyboards in major. Plus these slightly fragile vocals that fills your ears with silky smooth sound waves all through the track.
The funny thing about the track list of this album, is that we move from the breezy ‘And To Know this’ to a more upbeat an non-categorical ‘Love here Tonight’. It varies a lot from track to track. Based on its intro, my interpretation is that the spacey star-like vibe from the cover is connected to and flowing into the song ‘Love here Tonight’. These futuristic and wavy sci-fi sounds seem to be a recurring theme in this album. Anyhow, I kinda like it.
‘Love here Tonight’ is spiced with more electronic rock guitar than most of the other songs and the airy vocals are quite well placed between the raspy drums and the spacey keys. Then comes the popular and well known ‘Idaho’, that we have all heard on the radio, and it actually gives the album a lift, that we get something we know halfway through the track list. I’m a firm fan of ‘Idaho’, as I find it very easy to listen to, especially during my tough mornings.
In between ‘Idaho’ and ‘Maybe It’s Gonna Be Fine’ – the last song on the album – there are some slightly uncharacteristic songs, that do not appeal that much to me. Maybe it’s because they are too slow, compared to my usual perception of Masasolo. I like when it’s fast-paced, light and contains those lovely happy-go lucky guitar melodies. But that’s just me. I’m sure that someone else would have the agility to appreciate them more.
‘Maybe It’s Gonna Be Fine’ is the last track on this album, and it ties the spacey knot beautifully with quick beats, and futuristic vocals made by what sounds like an electronically controlled mouth organ. The melody is simple, but catchy, while an infrequent el-guitar pops up after repetitions of the chorus. The meaning of this track seems to revolve around the comfort you seek, when going through the different phases of developing, growing, and getting older, and finally you reach this idea, that despite the difficulties you meet, everything will be fine. Now, that I think about it, it may also depict the thoughts I had when listening to this album; it has some bright and shiny moments, some hurdles and holes in the road that prevents you from listening undistracted and unproblematically. But this song really ties an end to this spacey road of ‘At Sixes and Sevens’ and it all makes sense in the end.
Even though I may see the slower tracks as audio hurdles, and I expected not to, I still like the spacey vibe Masasolo has put into this album. It gives it a mysterious feel, and makes it unpredictable in terms of what is going down in the next track.
‘At Sixes and Sevens’ was released Friday, it is available at all streaming services, and it can be heard live on 24th of November at Radar.
Listening to a record from Masasolo is never a disappointment. Neither is this debut full-length, which obviously has a few lows, but is more than rich on highs. (4/6)