Release Date: Oct 6, 2017
Record label: Arbutus Records
The albums that came before it tell of Raphaelle Standell and Alexander Kerby’s relationship up to the point of Tenderness; Blooming Summer their sunny beginnings and Untogether their romantic uncoupling. Spending more time apart, the duo wrote remotely on their second album, communicating virtually to bring their ideas together which translates as a theme to their third release. Interestingly the relationship described in Tenderness is between Standell and a new lover, which you would expect to be a difficult topic for Blue Hawaii to collaborate on, but they are alarmingly mature in the way they support each other on this musical project..
Relationship status has always been a significant part of Blue Hawaii's music. On Untogether, Raphaelle Standell-Preston and Alexander Cowan turned their romantic breakup into affecting, forward-thinking electro-pop. On Tenderness, they use the end of Standell-Preston's online relationship as the inspiration for songs about the ease -- and difficulties -- of feeling close to someone far away.
Art in the 2010s is rife with stories that start in a chat box. From “Catfish” to Yo Gotti’s “Down in the DM,” the concept of love and courtship bubbling and blooming remotely, over the internet, is increasingly commonplace. Tenderness, the third album by the experimental pop duo Blue Hawaii, situates itself in this new sub-genre of romantic art.
Blue Hawaii’s previous album, Untogether, ended with singer, Raphaelle Standell-Preston, letting the listener know: “The other day, I had a beautiful thought: What if I didn’t really care?” Coming at the end of an album that bristled with anxiety and explored themes of disintegration and disconnection, it felt like a revelatory moment; a glorious letting-go. It turned out to be a turning point. Between then and now, Standell-Preston and her collaborator, Alexander Kerby, put out two songs called ‘Get Happy’ and ‘Get Happier’ respectively, and then announcedtheir second full-length by releasing ‘No One Like You’, a glistening disco-pop gem that takes the Bobby Youngblood featuring Kenix track, ‘There’s Never Been (No One Like You)’ and augments it with a dramatic string arrangement, a stuttering disco beat and Standell-Preston’s otherworldly vocals.
The follow-up to 2013’s ‘Untogether’ sees the Montreal duo craft out 16 meticulously detailed tracks that feature frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston in fine form throughout. The Braids vocalist dazzles over the lush arrangements on lead single ‘No One Like You’, and again catches the ear on the hedonistic bump of fellow standout ‘Versus Game’, where spacey guitars float sparsely atop a pulsating synth beat. Both are prime fodder for high-flying club mixes, as is the record’s title track, which grows vividly around a bouncing ‘Inspector Norse’ bass line, shuffling drum ticks, and a poignant motto of self-love: “Learning how to be alone without you, and happy to be with me”..