- It's hard not to hear the success or failure of Studio's Dan Lissvik and Rasmus Hägg embodied in the degree to which they nail the feel of Sly & Robbie at Compass Point circa '85 composing soundtracks for long shots of beach denizens on Miami Vice. In a cynical enough mood, you could even disparage the project by suggesting that their aim is closer to the likes of Toto working on Hunter, most likely through a dense haze of pure Columbian. Listening to Studio inspires visions of drifting off a law-abiding citizen and waking up Patrick Bateman, carving shapes in the air for all the ladies out on the fern bar dance floor, forgetting what day it is.
Well, maybe not Patrick Bateman; this stuff isn't nearly crass enough for him. If the phrase "Jan Hammer mood music" gives you tingles, Yearbook 2 is your kind of album, especially if you'd like Jan Hammer a lot more if his music switched out synths for sun-drenched acoustic guitars. Even at this late date, that stiff-and-sterile, drenched-in-cheap-cologne Phil Collins bullshit is a step too far in the '80s-revival game. But knowing at just which point to knock off the retro-homage shtick is the dubious genius of this act. Studio is hipster catnip because they've sought out the furthest edge they can possibly go before the whole thing falls onto the wrong side of the cool/uncool divide.
You know how hip-hop used the most exciting parts of records? In transforming everyone from indie rockers Shout Out Louds and Love Is All to pop giant Kylie Minogue to beat-head hippies A Mountain of One, Lissvik and Hägg use the most unexciting parts, and they just about get away with it. Almost every element on Studio's reworking of Mountain of One's "Brown Piano" signifies white-beach comfort and beachcomber shambling at once, the piles of acoustic guitars, baggy beat, and faded synth colors rambling barefoot in your head. Occasionally, the duo's pastel-tinged tricks actually focus their chosen tracks, as with the Rubies' "Room Without a Key," in which a woody bass and clopping percussion ground drifting vocal harmonies and equally floatational synth lines.
More frequently, those elements are mixed and matched with a sense of melodrama so low-key it elides any sense of genuine bad taste—unless acoustic guitars miked so clearly they practically glisten is your idea of bad taste. That lack of crassness is part of what Studio is selling, of course. But a hint of bad taste can add surprising spice to things—just ask a Daft Punk keytar solo. In the meantime, the world eagerly awaits Studio's very own Dream of the Blue Turtles.
01. A Mountain of One "Brown Piano" (Remake by Studio)
02. Shout Out Louds "Impossible" (Possible Version by Studio)
03. Love Is All "Turn The Radio Off" (Remake by Studio)
04. Rubies "Room Without A Key" (Version by Studio)
05. Brennan Green "Escape From Chinatown" (Version by Studio)
06. Kylie "2 Hearts" (Version by Studio)
07. Williams "Love On A Real Train" (Version by Studio)