Friday, December 8, 2017

MOBILE HOMES-Mobile Homes (1998)


My continued trek through the world of Swedish electronic space music took an unexpected turn when I re-discovered a group I had already known about for years. Unexpected, because although MOBILE HOMES is categorized in the synthpop catalog, the sound on their 1998 debut album—the only piece of theirs discography currently in my collection—has a definite mainstream pop/rock sound to it. So mainstream, in fact, that there's a handful of songs here that totally get me thinking about the 80's all over again; indeed, "You Make The Sun Shine" "See The Wold" and "Paradise" (the melodic 'la-la-la' repeated almost endlessly in song's closing movements makes this song stick to you) has a delightful 80's-sounding perk about it that instantly appeal to my senses. But before my ears tuned in to any of those, there is the marvelous melodic pop/rock adventure that opens this album called "United". This is one of those dreamy, wake-up-in-the-morning-and-get-ready-for-work kinda tunes that you hear as soon as the alarm clock goes off and you cut the radio on. For some reason, I like hearing the guys' distinctively Swedish accent on this one more than on any of the other songs, and their words about two lost lovers coming back together again are a warming comfort. There's even a nice acoustic guitar reprisal of it to enjoy near the end of the album; at first, I almost liked the reprise better, then decided that I love that and the original studio recording equally. Another one that I adore in equal portions as well is "Take It Or Leave It", a somber and bittersweet piece that starts off as as mellow ballad before the tempo kicks up before the entire song blossoms into one of the album's strongest performances. I love the harmony of the guys on backup, and I found something internally refreshing about the way they deliver the alleviating 'I'm free ' in the chorus. Despite the prevailing pop/rock sound here, there are still pockets where there's a recognizable electronic/synthpop element in the production, with the the most prominent occurrences being on the two energetic house thrillers: "Love Relation" (is this love or just infatuation?—that is the main message being projected on this one, and there's some cool, glitzy keyboard riffs as the song nears its completion) and "I Do What I Can" (the infusion of the rock guitar with the beat does give the music a cool edge here). I liked this one as well, even if it sort creeped me out with its unsettling vibe: "Circle Of Stars". It's all in the suspenseful chords and monotonic vocals delivering the lyrics about putting an end to a farce of a relationship, with those distinctively-so-80's video game blips and beeps—which happens to be my favorite part of the song's production—strangely adding even more creepy chills to the music:

1. United
2. You Make The Sun Shine
3. See The World
4. Definitely Wrong
5. Love Relation
6. Take It Or Leave It
7. String Of Light
8. Paradise
9. I Do What I Can
10. United (Reprise)
11. Circle Of Stars

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