The second album, Hamartia, from the Anglo-Norwegian trio, Eyes Of A Blue Dog, is a splendid mixture of ambient electronica and alternative pop styles that have a mellow jazz flow with dreamy mood driven soundscapes. Following the release of their debut album, Rise, in 2012 the new album, Hamartia, released on June 8th 2015 incorporates their ‘ambient dreamtronic’ sound and adds to it a more alt-pop flavour giving rise to a new and unique sounding album.
The trio comments on the new album, Hamartia, stating, “It’s kind of an alt-pop, experimental cross between Massive Attack, Little Dragon and Portishead.” The 11 track album definitely has the sound they were going for and more with a great atmospheric feel that brings jazz, pop, and electronic elements together in creative fashion. Not to mention, the album also features a duet with Guillemots front-man, Fyfe Dangerfield, on the song ‘Before The Night Ends’, that gives nice compliment to the beautiful voice of the singer, Elisabeth Nygard.
‘Before The Night Ends’ is a mysterious track with immense space and openness that is reminiscent of Massive Attack and Portishead, and like them, has very simplistic instrumentation that is effective for the mood and feel of the song. The vocals are brilliantly layered and combined harmonically throughout the song with a filtered synth melody that creates the sentimental soundscape.
‘Drug I Can’t Deny’ is also a great upbeat track that would veer toward their alternative pop form much like the style of Imagine Dragon or Bjork. The song starts off with a unique loop and a percussive synth melody that has a Scandinavian type sound and then builds and progresses into trumpet melodies, synth variations, and grooving drumbeats garnished with the soothing vocals of Elisabeth Nygard.
I love the dark and hypnotic sound of ‘Blow’ with its amazing lyrics and presence of the vocals that really bring out the Portishead feel in the trio. The drums have a hip hop groove to them with a jazz flow in the instrumentation that drops in and out to accentuate the lyrical parts giving it pleasant dynamics.
Then songs like ‘Hamartia’ bring the album back to deep house dance grooves with great electronic and synth instrumentations and an improvised trumpet part that inspires good jazz vibes. The build of the track really works well as it comes in percussively soft and then climbs to a hard dance beat that is complimented by an intimate vocal line.
All 11 tracks flow and work perfectly together, each unique and original in creativity and style. Hamartia is an album about sin and flaw, based on the ancient Greek word translated as ‘fatal flaw of a hero’ or ‘moral mistake’, and brings about imagery of hedonism, morality, debauchery and pleasure to the fore.
Eyes Of A Blue Dog consist of members Rory Simmons, the trumpeter/guitarist, known for his work with Monocled Man and Fringe Magnetic, joined with singer Elisabeth Nygard and spin marvel electronicist Terje Evensen.
To hear music or get more info about Eyes Of A Blue Dog and the new album, Hamartia, check them out on iTunes, Facebook, Soundcloud, and YouTube.