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Communions ditch brooding punk for triumphant power-pop on Blue

B+
Communions (Photo: Simon Birk)
Communions (Photo: Simon Birk)
B+

Communions

Album: Blue
Label: Fat Possum

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In 2011, a teenage band of Danish pretty-punks calling themselves Iceage took the indie rock world by storm. Its first album, New Brigade, felt distinctly innovative, assisting in a wave of punk appreciation that followed. When Iceage first came to the United States, it did so mysteriously—sparking even more interest—inspiring a lot of American music fans to beg the question: If these guys came from Copenhagen, what else is out there? The answer is a lot, and it’s not all of a certain brooding genre. Fellow Danes Communions exemplify this, and on their debut album Blue, prove that power-pop never goes out of style.

That wasn’t always the case: Communions got their start in 2014 with their Cobblestones EP via Copgenhagen label Posh Isolation (it’s partially run by Lust For Youth’s Loke Rahbek, who has been in many projects with the Iceage guys—it’s a small scene). The release was noisy and distorted, haze layered on top of distinctly melodic euro-pop songwriting. The next year, they released a self-titled EP that began peeling back the fuzz. In many ways, they became a post-punk act but one attracted to ascending harmonies. On Blue, they’ve finally found their footing, but it’s been a long and slow transformation to get here. Communions has become a pop band, and it’s the band they were supposed to be all along.

Blue begins with the synesthetic “Come On, I’m Waiting,” a knuckles-out power-pop tune, which sees vocalist Martin Rehof begging to be “turned into blue.” This is followed by “Today,” a breakup song that details the painful experience with pointed power chords, as the band channels The Strokes and offers Blue’s best track. Rehof finds the hope he lost just one song before on “Passed You By,” a straight-forward, romantic ’80s pop anthem where he sings “When everything goes wrong / Keep hanging on.” The band channels this positivity time and again, becoming more realistic during “She’s A Myth” when Rehof sings, “I don’t think of the future / I just do what it takes to survive.”

Denmark, and more specifically, Copenhagen, may be forever associated with noise and thrash-punk, but the Scandinavian city is so much more than doom and gloom. Communions remind us that there’s more, and of the optimistic quality of a great pop song. After all, they made an entire album of the stuff.


Purchase Blue here, which helps support The A.V. Club.