After forming their critically acclaimed Pale Blue project with their debut album ‘The Past We Leave Behind’ in 2015, Mike Simonetti (Italians Do It Better) and Elizabeth Wight (Silver Hands) have only furthered intrigue and interest in the years since, uniting for a series of expansive EPs on Simonetti’s own 2MR imprint exploring dancefloor-focused acid through to gripping electronica. Having already oﬀered a first look and preview into their long-awaited album return via three singles on the label, with remixes provided by DJ Tennis, Kölsch, Fort Romeau and Perel, mid-May sees Simonetti, and Wight finally reveal their sophomore album ‘Maria’ on Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels - oﬀering a uniquely raw yet seamlessly polished trip into their idiosyncratic world.
“‘Maria’ is an album of love songs - the good, the bad, and the ugly… The album is written entirely in Elizabeth’s voice. These are all her words - her thoughts, based on her personal experience. When writing this record I took inspiration from classic rock LP sequencing, and tried to dial in on a coherent concept, a natural flow. Although these are clearly techno tracks, one would argue they have more in common with rock music than dance music. I wanted to try make something a little diﬀerent, verse/chorus/verse tracks but still heavy enough for the club, full of melody and emotion… poppy but not THAT kind of poppy. Pale Blue has been known to take on political subject matter in the past, but the politics of love is something we can all relate to.” - Mike Simonetti.
Opening with the slow-blooming and beautifully crafted dreamlike melodies of the aptly titled ‘Spells’, the eight-track long-player navigates and traverses the broader realms of electronica through to lighter pop-influenced touches and sonics for an absorbing and compelling dive. ‘Dive’, the first single from the project, provides a hazy but resonant web of polyrhythms and textures guided by Wight’s captivating vocals, while ‘Laura’ reaches for sparkling leads synths amongst sweeping tones and moments of bliss. Oﬀering up change to the aesthetic ‘Ice Is Falling’ is a stripped-back and haunting production as Wight’s vocals carry eerie tones and pockets of space for a hair-raising eﬀort.
The second half of the project welcomes second and third singles ‘No Words’ and ‘Together Alone’, with the playful tones of the former complementing the wistful and floaty soundscapes of the latter for two tracks to keep listeners in a trance. Closing out the package, ‘The New Year’ is a delightfully worked pop-leaning gem built on electronic foundations with a slinking acid-tinged bassline snaking through the mix, before shaping things up with the anthemic and rosy glow of final track ‘The Last Song’.
Further emphasising Simonetti and Wight’s innate connection and bond when creating and crafting music, ‘Maria’ is an exemplary display of the two at their best across a collection of eight productions straddling the electronic-pop border with poise and aplomb.
B2. Ice Is Falling
C1. No Words
C2. The New Year
D1. Together Alone
D2. The Last Song