(23 December 2014) Although our staff's discovery of Chandeen dates back to their second album Jutland (1995), our reviews of Chandeen's music began in 1998. Their Pandora's Box album and our photographically enhanced review both provide an extremely rich retrospective on Chandeen's first two generations.
We were among some of the first people outside the band to hear the first new album from the latest lineup of Harald Löwy and Julia Beyer since 2011's Blood Red Skies almost two months ago. The stunning photography used in the tri-fold cardboard sleeve continues to demonstrate Chandeen's attention to the visual experience only a physical package can deliver.
Entitled Forever and Ever (Chandeen and Kalinkaland (Germany) 02538, 2014), the all-new eleven-track album is graced again with Harald Löwy's outstanding arrangements and Julia's vocal work. The album's lineup is rounded out with Florian Walther and other guests including Löwy's daughter Marlene (soprano vocals). We collaborated with Harald on a one-page promo sheet that pays homage to the project and forms the foundation for the rest of this review.
Chandeen, fronted by Julia Beyer and Harald Löwy, have enjoyed international acclaim for their albums Teenage Poetry and Blood Red Skies. With their luscious blend of ambient pop, Chandeen's sound is remarkable with a unique sense of tonal aesthetics, visual soundscapes and unequalled soundtrack-like density.
The band has taken their time to work on the new album Forever And Ever and the result has definitely been worth the wait: it is an epic dream pop masterpiece delivering its sound with buzzy electronics, much cathedral reverb, coloured filters, gorgeously warm vocoder effects, orchestrated strings and massive choir parts. Without any doubt, this is the most ambitious and emotional work that the band has ever done.
The album starts with "Popcorn On Blue Eyes," a stunning synth-prog epic, inspired by the chill-inducing spirit of the underworld. "Cloudy Canyon" is an electro-rock-score song with the fantastic vocals of Julia Beyer that evokes the high velocity feeling of a skydiving trip. "Wake Up, Starbuck" is an incredible and emotional high fidelity piece featuring the fantastic soprano vocals of Harald Löwy's daughter Marlene.
The lead single "The Wild Unknown" has a light-hearted playfulness, a sweep of the 80s, and is catchier than anything else Chandeen have done to date. The mellow and breathtaking piano part shows the bands wispy emotional core as well as the range of Harald Löwy’' great vocal work in the refrain and the peaceful epilogue.
In the album's second half, Chandeen once more show their extraordinary talent for little symphonies ("What Lies Beneath The Sky") that embody incredible melodies ("Invaded by Love," "Mountains") and an impossibly rich and detailed world of sound. In an astonishing stretch, the band collaborated with the fantastic Children Ghost Choir to produce a mood that embodyies vital and intimate pleasures.
In sharp contrast, "Paralysed" is a magnificent and melancholy song with warm and wide daftpunk-vocoder effects that illuminate its vocal tunes with a dark neon light. The Hollywood score sound of "Hermine's Dream" and "Splendid Echo" shows Chandeen's love for crisp, butterfly-like moments that are simultaneously deep and ambient.
Now released worldwide in CD, vinyl and mp3 formats, Forever And Ever is clearly an uplifting and triumphant collection of splendid dream pop with epic widescreen synthesizer sounds that captures the band in an extended series of its most glorifying moments. Bravo!