Hygge (pronounced Hoo-Ga) is unofficially defined as the ‘cosiness of the soul’, or simply ‘comfort’. Originating in Denmark, the term has been adopted into our culture in recent years and has now become commonplace in UK households. To some it may sound like another load of rubbish made-up by millennials to excuse their alleged laziness. However, those anti-hygge protestors will soon be converted by Aquilo’s debut album, Silhouettes; a vocal definition of hygge.
Over the years, the acclaimed electro duo has gathered quite the following of fans from previous EP releases, with several tracks featuring in popular films and television shows. Silhouettes combines Aquilo’s personal experiences, the environment around the duo and the best of the previous four EPs to create an album of intimate, sonic storytelling.
The spirit of hygge flows throughout these stories, with Aquilo’s album serving as a perfect definition for the seemingly undefinable. The fragile harmonies of tracks like ‘Almost Over’, coupled with the crescendo of piano melodies, will have you drifting into an unknowing state of comfort and relaxation. You’ll be forced to listen to each track twice because you were too spaced out the first time to pay any attention. When you do pay attention, you’ll find yourself enthralled by the emotion-heavy lyrics.
‘Bridges could burn for you, wouldn’t you like them to.. I’ve never seen you get so low.’
Laments to love, loss and relationships dominate each track, but never once do we find Aquilo’s 14-track debut repeating itself. There’s a constant switch up of style that holds the listener’s attention, but not too boisterous that it distracts from the music itself. It begins with your slow, lone piano ballads, morphing through the aforementioned electronic sound before growing increasingly upbeat. It’s an odd juxtaposition within the album, hearing Silhouettes‘ sound grow more and more optimistic while the themes and lyrics grow heavier; note the track ‘Always Done What You Say’. By the end of the album, we find ourselves in a territory that’s less London Grammar and more The Weeknd as Aquilo creep from ambient synths to steady rhythmic beats and haunting vocals.
At times, Silhouettes may seem like a zoo of sound; feral, but contained for strictly observational purposes. Aquilo are granting you an admit-one ticket into their style library and baring all. As a debut, Silhouettes is an impressive showcase of Aquilo’s capabilities, but it still lacks the direction of their previous EPs. Perhaps it’s the overwhelming and daunting freedom that comes with a full-length album, or the broad range of sounds featured and their struggle to pin down and fully-develop just the one. Despite these few minor flaws, Silhouettes still holds all the key-components of a good, solid debut. If they achieve nothing else from this album, Aquilo will still be renowned as the sole creators of electro-hygge.
Aquilo’s album Silhouettes is available to purchase or stream from January 27th. They are currently mid-way through a tour of North America supporting Låpsley and will return for more UK shows in 2017.