You have to wonder how two people manage to pull off music that is this ornate, this beautiful, this triumphant.
It looks like Robyn isn’t the only one making grand, sweeping, multi-album statements these days. Some of her fellow Swedes, including electro-pop duo the Deer Tracks, have huge, ambitious plans as well. As its name implies, The Archer Trilogy Pt. 1, their most recent EP, is the start of an epic that will span multiple records: the second part will drop sometime this summer as a full-length release, while part three will be another EP. Composed of David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors, the Deer Tracks -- who already have a proper LP under their belt in the form of 2008’s Aurora -- make orchestral electro-pop that manages to convey a sense of grandeur by means of the tiny and fragile. They create landscapes as small as a music box but balance them with swooping keyboards, horns and woodwinds that belie the band’s size. In fact, you have to wonder how two people manage to pull off music that is this ornate, this beautiful, this triumphant. With The Archer Trilogy Pt. 1, the Deer Tracks has stumbled onto an unique sound that merits repeated listens, even in the abbreviated format of an EP, just to capture the magnificence of the band's skittering, organic, lush brand of indie pop.
It’s hard to judge this five-song EP all by itself, seeing that it is part of a larger planned trilogy. However, there is some outstanding stuff here. "Ram Ram" is a delightfully plucked piece of baroque pop with electronic glitches. Closer "Books of Blood" is both menacing and bouncy at the same time, combining different moods in the same space. The other songs on this mini-album generally aim high, too, and there’s nary a true throwaway to be found. That’s not to say that there aren't a few blemishes. Opener "The Smallest Cube" is gorgeous and tender but a little on the languid side. "Ram Ram", as good as it is, doesn’t really end so much as stop dead in its tracks, and the same fate befalls "Books of Blood". Still, The Archer Trilogy Pt. 1 is a remarkably strong and confident album, one that provides mood-setting background music for waking up sleepy-eyed in cramped bedrooms. It’s a great teaser of what’s to come. Awed, you’ll wonder about what’s next on the horizon from these Swedes. Bring on Pt. 2.