Copenhagen-based duo and JOVM mainstays Palace Winter — Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born, Copenhagen-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager —have released three critically applauded albums, 2016’s Waiting For The World To Turn, 2018’s Nowadays and 2020’s . . . Keep Dreaming Buddy, which have seen the Danish pop duo establish and hone a unique, genre-defying with a cinematic leaning.
During the pandemic, Palace Winter’s Carl Coleman kept busy by watching horror films. Naturally, it wasn’t long before the themes of the movies he was watching, started serving as inspiration for new material: The paranoia, existential fear and dread of those movies seemed to reflect our time with an eerily uncanny accuracy.
“Slasher” was the first bit of new material inspired and informed by the horror movies Coleman watched during lockdowns. Thematically, the song is about a serial killer roaming the streets and killing unsuspecting victims. And for the JOVM mainstays, “Slasher” was the first bit of songwriting together in person since the release of Nowadays.
Unfortunately, the duo’s creative process was interrupted when Coleman discovered that he had contracted COVID, a literal killer, rapidly roaming across the globe. “While we were making the song, I got COVID and had to isolate for a week in a small Corona-hotel room,” Coleman recalls in press notes. “The bizarre situation made me reflect on the fact that there’s this ‘killer on the streets’, and for many of us there’s a slim chance of avoiding it. Suddenly I had 3 meals a day left at my door, no contact with any other people and could only get fresh air in this super bleak shopping mall carpark. It was so dystopian, like a zombie flick.”
Centered around nods to Ennio Morricone Spaghetti Western soundtracks, 80s New Wave and synth pop, and 90s drum ‘n’ bass and house music, “Slasher” further cements the Copenhagen-based JOVM mainstay act’s wide-screen and genre-defying take on pop paired with their unerring knack for crafting razor sharp hooks. But unlike their preceding material, “Slasher” finds the duo thematically at their darkest — and simultaneously at their campiest with the song featuring the final line “But my soul keeps dancing.”
The JOVM’s first single of 2022, “The Big Blue” is an expansive track that clocks in at a little over six-and-half minutes and finds the Danish pop duo making a heavy nod to the krautrock inspired style of some of their earlier work while pushing their sound in adventurous new directions. Bursting out of the gate with a brooding and uneasy introduction featuring shimmering acoustic guitar and trippy melodies, the song features three distinct sections that reveal gradually shifting tones and moods centered around glistening synth arpeggios, relentless four-on-the-floor and an extensive Trans Europe Express-like synth solo section.
Rising Danish-born sibling duo PRISMA — Frida and Sirid Møl Kristensen — contribute dreamy harmonies throughout the song. The duo, who cite The Raveonettes, Vivian Girls, Trentemøller, The Cure, and Susanne Sundfør as influences on their work have received attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere for an uptempo, direct yet cinematic sound that reminded Coleman and Hesselager of some of their earliest work — in particular, their debut EP, 2015’s Medication and their full-length debut. “One of their strengths is the way their voices harmonize together. Especially in the outro it almost puts you in a trance,” Hesselager explains.
Figuratively, “The Big Blue” is a journey out of darkness and into brighter, more hopeful days. And I know that’s something we’re all desperately clinging onto in this weird time. “It’s about coming out of a trauma and changing yourself into something more positive. It’s about discovering a better version of yourself,” Palace Winter’s Carl Coleman explains.