SummaryOne of the clichés about Scandinavian countries is that they are neat and tidy, well ordered, clean. The same could not be said of Copenhagen four-piece When Saints Go Machine's second full-length album, 'Infinity Pool'. The opposite, in fact. It's a record born out of an atmosphere of chaos. It's harder, darker and more synthetic than its predecessors. It opens with 'Love And Respect', which features a guest vocal from Grammy award winning rap artist Killer Mike, who freewheels over chugging, synth-drenched beat. Elsewhere, 'Dead Boy' sees Vonsild's tremulous falsetto digitized and then floated over a semi-ambient soundscape, while 'Infinity Killer' pitches skittering sound effects against a low-end drone.
On the previous album, 'Konkylie', we tried to make machines simulate nature," says Vonsild. "With 'Infinity Pool' we were trying to capture a feeling of the absurdity of mankind trying to construct nature. Maybe it's something to do with being in the city. You are always influenced by what's going on around you." It's also to do with the music that inspired them. "There are a lot of references to the early '90s on the album," says Vonsild. "It's not a rave album, but there are a lot of elements of rave on there. 'Degeneration' sums up what we were trying to do. There are some tracks on the album that could almost have been rave songs under other circumstances. I think that it's one of the songs that I don't think anyone else would have made."
Rather than go at these rave influences full tilt, they did the opposite of what might be expected: they stripped them down and twisted them into new shapes. The dark undercurrent that coloured the band's previous releases is intact, then. It's something that makes the fact that When Saints Go Machine won a string of awards in their native Denmark last year all the more surprising. Vonsild is sanguine about that kind of music industry approval. While it's nice to be liked, Vonsild says it's far more important to challenge people as well as yourself. He says they felt nervous about the direction they took on 'Infinity Pool', unease that they were operating outside their comfort zone. "But," he adds, "that's a good thing. Whenever you feel a bit scared about putting something out, that's how you should feel as an artist."