The Mary Onettes - Hit The Waves

These Swedes are still obsessed with the 80s, at times dazzling with as much majesty as a Simon Le Bon yacht ride.

Label: Labrador

Rating: 6

Rewind five or so years back and The Mary Onettes’ brand of crystalline synth tunes fitted snuggly with Ladyhawke and Cut Copy’s obsession with eighties electro-pop. The Swedes’ self-titled debut and its follow-up ‘Islands’ showed that the land of superior social care and peculiarly-named furniture had something new to shout about.

Now onto their third album, this quartet is still infatuated with the era of hairspray and shoulder pads. Like their contemporaries before them, The Mary Onettes are not ashamed to admit it: see ‘Hit the Waves’ (sounds like Cut Copy) or ‘Years’ (sounds like the Killers’ ‘Battle Born’). Their transparent melodies are lavished with a generous helping of airy reverb, but don’t mistake this for some clammy hangover. Catchy like the Cure, ‘Hit the Waves’ dazzles with as much majesty as a Simon Le Bon yacht ride. See shimmering lead single ‘Evil Coast’ where wishy-washy synths lather mesmerising guitar chimes.

And further on, the homages to the decade long gone are even more brazen. ‘Black Sunset’ would almost be a cover of Prince’s ‘I Would Die 4 U’ if it weren’t for its screeching chorus. The sauntering Roxy Music-esque wisps of ‘Can’t Stop the Aching’ slow things down before Wham! ‘Unblessed’ transports us to a high school dance soundtracked by Blondie and Duran Duran.

‘Can’t Stop The Aching’, as its name suggests, runs the risk of being as overly-schmaltzy as George Michael’s solo career, all oozy synths and romantic ballad harmonies. But Phillip Elkström’s vocals just about manage to save it, the best impersonation of Robert Smith yet. ‘Don’t Forget (to Forget About Me)’ is the album highlight: three minutes something of fist pumping keys as crystal clear as a Finish dishwasher tablet. ‘Hit The Waves’ offers little in way of innovation, an unthreatening album to Sigur Ros and The Knife’s releases later this year, but The Mary Onettes are perfectly happy to look backwards.