Comprised of Jonatan and Daniel, Etui is a Swedish duo that crafts a combination of glamrock, synthpop, and shoegaze. Their latest EP, Seraphs, was released on May 19th and draws influences from their childhood music and contemporary ones.
Describing their EP as one that “breaths nostalgic and cleansing,” Etui embraces maximalism by spray-painting abstract ideas into their grand-sized soundscape. It’s buoyantly dense and feels like the duo are flushing out all their restrained creativity into you. The opener “Collision” skyrockets you into a cosmic shoegaze where your own thoughts get lost in the chaotic synthphony.
In the following track, “Dovas,” we find ourselves adrift in Julian Azar’s glacé vocals. “From all I know I’m falling apart / I’m here to remind you of that / Even love goes to sleep” chants Julian. Built on a lyrical enigma, “Dovas” echoes one’s use of substances to move through life as the dependency gradually deteriorates them. Moving towards a more starry-eyed trajectory, “A Place Beyond The Pints” finds Julian’s vocals in chest-swelling, midtempo. Covered with electro flicks and percussive piles, the beats back down just a little in the precipice to let Julian’s vocals stay atop.
“What We Could Carry” stands in the summit of nostalgia – amidst the torrent of drums and sputtering notes, there are interludes where the glistening chords suspend us in bittersweet silence. The exiting track “Bye Night” feels like the last exhale from the duo – “I got my first real six string, and baby we were born to run” chants Entui in multi-vocals. The resonant thumps and keyboard taps throb in uni-motion, like a heart pumping oxygen to your brain hoping to make sense of the world.
Bouncing between nostalgia and mental-decluttering, Seraphs invites its listeners to shuffle through thoughts or indulge in the chaos. It is not an EP for everyone to digest – there are instances where the melody becomes too excessive that we lose the lyrics. While it can feel messy at times, most of the time it leaves us marveling at past memories while indulging in a shoegazy dimension.