Sunday, 19 June 2011

'Into The Clouds' by The Sound of Arrows

It's a cliché but it's true: songs like this don't come along very often. To give you an idea of just how good 'Into The Clouds' is it would be best to say that it is easily one of the best records of the 21st century and that that statement comes without any kind of hyperbole. It is ethereal, transcendental and probably the nearest you'll hear to a perfect song this side of 'I Feel Love'.

The Sound of Arrows are Swedes Oskar Gullstrand and Stefan Storm. Journalists might say they make 'dreamy synthpop'; the duo themselves prefer to call it 'widescreen pop' - an incredibly accurate description, epitomised by 'Into The Clouds'. It has what my Mum would call 'a big sound', and she wouldn't be wrong. From the very start you are lifted away by swooping synths that, for me at least, genuinely feel like they are pulsating through your body. In my minds eye I picture being carried away, in between the clouds on some massive imaginary pink flamingo. It sounds completely insane, or as if I'm on some kind of hallucinogenic drug, but it's true. Within the first few seconds you are transported to another world, The Sound of Arrows' world presumably, and it's brilliant.

Vocalist Storm breathily asserts that "We could leave this place and fly far away; let's escape this town, the streets and the cars and the crowds; and into the clouds", and you believe him. This is only about 45 seconds in and you are already riding on the crest of his wave. He continues "And nothing can stop us, nothing forever; nothing can stop us, if we stick together". He could be singing to a partner or a close friend, but by this point it might as well be to you.

Further in, he tells you that "It's far away; forever ever, stay the same; no never never", somehow managing to take the song up a notch further from its already wonderful bleepy, shimmery position and you are with him all the way, "Straight to the sky, then into the clouds". Contrary to the opinion of Messrs Ron and Russell Mael, this is the Number One song in Heaven. If ever there was a song that came from a higher plain, this is it.

Ultimately though the song ends, and you are left with the crashing realisation that you haven't escaped the town, the streets or the crowds, and that the unbridled joy and optimism of the past 3 minutes and 38 seconds was only a state of mind. For just one song it does something quite special and incredibly, incredibly rare in that whenever you listen to it you enter a state of slight euphoria. The problem is that although the intense rush of happiness and hopefulness you've just experienced was amazing, it was ephemeral - and now it's gone. And that just makes you want to listen again.

Watch the video perfectly realise the record below

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