8 February 2013 Stuff We Like

Blue Hawaii - Untogether

Blue Hawaii - Untogether

On both their previous release and the live shows I caught this past CMJ, Blue Hawaii matched the imagery of their name well- warm and inviting, with just a tinge of sadness. Untogether is striking in the way it diverges from this past. The soundscape is more precise and the synth pads chillier, creating a sound that is at first brittle and crystalline. The sadness has moved to the fore, and Raphaelle Standell-Preston's vocals appear frequently chopped, layered, and otherwise manipulated. All of this may be a result of the circumstances that surrounding the creation of this album- a time of separation for its two members and shifting within their surrounding communities.

On repeated listens, Untogether reveals itself as more lyrically ambiguous and much denser sonically than Blooming Summer. Though the soundscape is almost entirely electronic, there are moments that sound almost orchestral; tracks swell, fade, skitter, and arpeggiate, marking a leap forward in Alexander "Agor" Cowan's compositional technique. Though I've been lucky enough to spend a bit of time with the album already, so far it seems I've only brushed the surface. With Untogether it seems Blue Hawaii have headed further offshore, into the dark, icy waters beneath.

– Jeffrey Woldan

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