Album Review of Konkylie by When Saints Go Machine.

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When Saints Go Machine

Konkylie by When Saints Go Machine

Release Date: Jun 21, 2011
Record label: !K7
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance

77 Music Critic Score
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Konkylie - Very Good, Based on 4 Critics

AllMusic - 90
Based on rating 9/10

That Danish quartet When Saints Go Machine would inspire a bit of fan art specifically referencing a similar Depeche Mode photo shot from 1993 would seem to indicate what's at work on the group's second album, Konkylie. It's a bit of misdirection, though -- if anything, the electronic exploration and understated rigor on their exquisite 2011 release comes from Depeche's mid-'80s era and, more to the point, only makes one small part of the whole. A large part of the appeal lies in lead singer Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild, who's been tagged as a new Arthur Russell but whose voice slightly suggests, if anyone, Antony Hegarty.

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Drowned In Sound - 80
Based on rating 8/10

Electronic pop has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years. In Sweden, The Knife injected a chilly, economical sound with a buried, aching humanity and theatrical costumes and staging; Karin Andersson's Fever Ray solo project elaborated on the theme, mixing the magical and the mundane. The music for the ambitious electro-opera, Tomorrow, in a Year, helped introduce collaborator and cult star Planningtorock to a wider audience - from Berlin via her hometown of Bolton, PTR (aka Janine Rostron) combines high art, gender politics and pop into something that rings true on both conceptual and personal levels.

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PopMatters - 70
Based on rating 7/10

The absurdly-named electro-pop quartet When Saints Go Machine makes music that’s both unforgettable and frustrating, and mostly for the same reason: the singer’s voice. Nikolaj Vonsild’s falsetto is a dark and throaty thing, and his vibrato is visible from space. In every song, Vonsild’s voice hits its sweet spot like an arrow hitting a bullseye, quivering with passion and pleasure.

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Prefix Magazine - 65
Based on rating 6.5/10

It’s awfully hard to walk the precarious tightrope walk between sacred cow adoration and outright plagiarism. The Copenhagen avant-electro group When Saints Go Machine succeeds in their task by creating not only a moody send-up to Arthur Russell, but brilliant chamber music of their own accord. Konkylie (“conch” in Danish) is the name of that accomplishment and the full-length’s echoic sound design definitely reverberates like a seashell.The warm, analog synthesizers on the tribal-pop prism “Church and Law” and the bittersweet summer romance earworm “Kelly” take on onomatopoeic tones.

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