Light up the dark…

Continuing the current tradition of collaboration among electronic acts, fellow Swedish outfits Vogon Poetry and Electric City Cowboys have drummed up new EP release Electric Passion. This four track offering combines both of the band’s particular talents to produce two distinct tracks, alongside two separate remixes.

The original idea for the two bands collaborating was apparently conjured up at a synth-pop festival last year. It’s not that unusual for musicians to mix up their talents, but perhaps what marks Electric Passion out from similar collaborative efforts is that both bands have produced and contributed their own tunes, rather than working together directly. At the same time, each party have remixed their contemporary’s compositions.

Vogon Poetry have previously established themselves as an electropop outfit with a flair for combining accessible electronic music with science fiction themes. Consisting of Roger Tell, Daniel Önnerby and John Andersson, the trio have previously cited the likes of IAMX, Yazoo, S.P.O.C.K and Elegant Machinery as influences.

As the band’s name suggests, Vogon Poetry draw a lot of their inspiration from Douglas Adams’ classic radio/TV/book series The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Their third album release, Life, the Universe and Everything arrived in 2018, which the TEC review summed up as boasting “effective synth-pop and a continuing demonstration of Sweden’s rich electronic music culture.”

Vogon Poetry have also kept busy in their post-album period, releasing the evocative ‘Changes’ (from their Changelings EP released earlier this year). That track heralds the band’s fourth album Deep Thought, which is due out later this year.

Similarly, Electric City Cowboys is a fellow Swedish 3-piece featuring Martin Johansson, Mikael Johnsson and Robert Carlsson. The trio made their stage debut at the first BeatboxLive event in Halmstad in 2016 and have since put out a variety of energetic electropop tunes via a series of EP releases. They cultivate a musical style that throws a nod to the classic synth-pop era, while also embracing a love for beats-driven compositions.

In 2019, Electric City Cowboys released their debut album Superstar which showcased their talent for clean electronic pop bolstered with a muscular edge.

Electric Passion, therefore, is an intriguing release as both bands have very different approaches to writing and composing music. Vogon Poetry’s ‘Passion’, which opens the EP, is an electro-groove gem dedicated to the drive of the powerful titular emotion (“Passion – no way you can fake it”).

‘Passion’ is a slow-burning number which serves, perhaps, as a contrast to the kinetic pop that Vogon Poetry are best known for. Then again, the band have been changing their style of late particularly through more recent compositions, such as the more reflective ‘Changes’ and ‘Exposed Thoughts’.

Meanwhile, ‘Electric’ treads a much more familiar path with classic synth-pop licks. Here, Electric City Cowboys serve up dynamic dancepop with a high voltage. Lines such as “With the speed of light/We’re conquering the night” have a suitably euphoric charge to them.

Then things get switched around again as both bands volunteer to remix the other’s track. Electric City Cowboys tackle ‘Passion’ by giving it a beefier percussive foundation, lending the whole affair a big pop flavour.

In turn, Vogon Poetry strip down ‘Electric’ to its essential elements, while maintaining a rhythmic weight that holds the whole thing together.

As noted previously, this trend for collaborative work has opened up vistas for intriguing and engaging musical projects. Here, Electric Passion lends that concept a distinctly Swedish flavour.

Electric Passion is out now on digital and also as a special 12″ vinyl release.