Sampled by Christina Aguilera, used as the soundtrack to countless commercials and featured prominently in everything from the pilot of fantasy reboot Beauty & The Beast to the finale of hipster drama How To Make It In America, the euphoric dream-pop of M83’s “Midnight City” has become so ubiquitous that it now appears to have inspired a tribute record.
Indeed, there’s little getting away from the fact that the majority of Skyer, the debut album from Swedish trio Postiljonen, Is hugely indebted to the French quintet’s signature hit. Opener “Intro” professes a similar love of smooth jazz with the slickest saxophone solo this side of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper,” lead single “Atlantis” sticks rigidly to the formula of washed-out synths and stadium-sized beats, while Mia Boe’s hushed ethereal tones bear more than a passing resemblance to Anthony Gonzalez’s, particularly on the gorgeous slow-dance electro of “Help.”
Of course, had Skyer arrived just a few years earlier, then Postiljonen would no doubt have been declared as the saviours of reverb-drenched synth-pop. But as consistently stunning as the record is, it’s difficult to give the group too much credit when they’ve essentially borrowed their sound wholesale from another tried-and-tested source.
To be fair, there are a few occasions when Postiljonen look beyond their overwhelmingly obvious inspiration. “Plastic Panorama” sounds like a Balearic chill-out remix of a long-lost Cocteau Twins classic, albeit one with several random quotes from The Princess Bride thrown in. “Rivers” combines the booming beats of a Ryan Tedder-penned power ballad with some shoegazing atmospherics and a repeated mantra of “the truth shall set you free.’”“All That We Had Is Lost” turns the uplifting soul-pop of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” into a gorgeously melancholic slice of slow-motion house.
Should Postiljonen continue to deviate from their well-worn formula, then their next record could be very special indeed. But it’s hard to judge Skyer as anything other than an impressive pastiche.