It’s taken me a while to try and review this objectively. Even now I’m not sure I’ll be able to.
From the opening notes of ‘You Started’, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic for a band whose lead singer’s life ended way too early. Charles Haddon’s vocals draw you in immediately in this sparsely produced track, letting his vocals and a simple piano line take centre stage. A beautiful cello line makes this track an amazing opener. Completely different from the singles we have previously heard from Ou Est Le Swimming Pool.
‘The Key’ is the first of the band’s four singles on the album. The track brings OELSP back into the 80s synth pop that we have come to know from the band. It’s also probably the least obvious single but is a definite grower with a nice build up in the chorus.
OELSP have a great sound and playing it down as much as possible I love the dirty bass synth sound they have perfected so well. These New Knights shows this in all its glory and shows Ou Est Le Swimming Pool were never going to be a one a one trick pony. ‘Dance The Way I Feel’ is infectious and makes you want to dance with its shouty chorus. On this version there’s also the introduction of a nice string section. Pure heaven!
Throughout the album, Haddon along with Joe Hutchinson and Caan Capan have managed to take the eighties electronic synth sound and bring it to the 21st century. Clever lyrics throughout show a depth to the band that probably would have been overlooked if Haddon were still with us.
‘Jacksons Last Stand’ again has the signature dirty bass synth sound but the production on Haddon’s vocals are extremely clever. Double tracked on occasion. There must be at least seven vocal line in this track. While Haddon’s vocals have been well produced, for me on this track they stand out most.
‘Our Lives’ is a thoughtful down tempo track, while ‘Answer’ brings the tempo back up again and is reminiscent of Human League, which isn’t a bad thing.
The album ends with ‘Next to Nothing’ and it seems that the album has come full circle with cello and strings and Haddon’s vocals taking prominence again. A subtle synth sound and beat emerges before retreating to left Haddon’s vocals and strings. A fitting ending.
It’s a great electronic dance album and a sign of what greatness could have come.