Museum Of Bellas Artes – Pieces (Best Fit)

Swedish three-piece quench an almighty thirst for pensive electro pop

Released Nov 11th, 2013 via Best Fit Recordings / By Larry Day
Museum Of Bellas Artes – Pieces (Best Fit) Stockholm synthpop wunderkinds Museum Of Bellas Artes, signed to the phenom label Best Fit Recordings – who recently put out Postiljonen's Skyer, a candidate for Record Of The Year – dropped their eagerly-anticipated debut LP recently, ending what seemed like an eternal wait.

Sweden, and the wider Scandinavian region, have always been adept at spewing out massive pop acts. There's a certain je ne sais quoi that the nations possess which make the denizens of the chilly North masters of eclectic, rousing and stellar sounds. From ABBA to , they've reigned over all pop-dom for close to forty years, and with Pieces, MOBA's premiere endeavour, the dynasty shows no signs of waning.

On their initial approach, MOBA opted for a more candied route, producing effervescent sugar-pop ditties with equal measures pep and quirk. For Pieces, things trundle down a considerably darker route, á la Scandi-pop of 2013. For example, 'Abyss', replete with staccato half-time percussion and gothtronica pads, lurches into our line of sight. Vocalist Alice Luther Näsholm's dulcet coos are sometimes Del Rey-esque – enormous, swooning scalic passages that are more '60s ballad queen than '10s (is that what we call this decade?) pop sensation.

Opening number 'Fantasia' instils that doom 'n' gloom instantly. Titanic sampled creaks and baroque keys churn with operatic vox and jarring Oriental synth stabs; it's akin to some macabre Broadway opus. It's delightfully malevolent and off-kilter – dark without being evil, rather opting for a caricature of menace, like Helena Bonham Carter in anything – and it's nice to see that MOBA haven't had their humour eradicated. Robo-pop finalé 'Glass' is more sedated perhaps than other cuts, with Näsholm's vocals crystalline above jaunty '60s pop pep and clarinets. It's a kind of symphonic chamber-pop, bidding adieu to the record with aplomb rather than sinister dealings.

Cuts like 'Bear Cub', however, appear to delve into sunnier realms, ensuring multiple facets to the record and a broad scope of noises. 'Bear Cub' mines '70s disco for rhythms and '90s soft-rock for riffs and vocals – it's a kinetic melange bursting with charming dance initiative. 'Twine', apparently mimicking a cyborg carousel, almost swaggers like Arcade Fire doing the OST for the next James Bond flick. It's jagged synthpop, and there's more than a splash of kinsmen ABBA on offer (if ABBA were dunked in radioactive ooze and turned to supervillainy).

Though we've had to wait far too long for a meaty slab of MOBA, it's ultimately worth the wait. It's a superlative-luring record, brimming with nostalgic nods and tenacious pop spunk; they conjure an original streak in a heavily-worn genre, vying for '70s influences and gothic dirges instead of slackerwave and folk (both seem much more prevalent lately). Lets hope that now MOBA have the ball rolling, we won't have to wait quite as long for the second chapter in their history, though Pieces will keep us engorged and smiling for plenty of time to come.