PAGE call it “Keyboardbaserad Retroromantisk Popmusik”…
The veteran Swedish duo of Eddie Bengtsson and Marina Schiptjenko are back with ten newly written songs recorded during 2022 – 2023. Having released their first single ‘Dansande Man’ in 1983, ‘En Ny Våg’ (translated as “A New Wave”) consolidates 40 years of PAGE.
Having first started a re-exploration of the post-punk synth innovations of TUBEWAY ARMY on the 2017 long player ‘Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut’ that continued on 2019’s ‘Fakta För Alla’, Eddie Bengtsson again uses Gary Numan as a catalyst, alongside associated bands ULTRAVOX (both John Foxx and Midge Ure periods) and DRAMATIS (comprising of former Numan band members), for an opus shaped by a Moog Voyager XL and Moog Minitaur.
The driving rhythms and swimmy synths on the ‘En Ny Våg’ title song show things are business as usual but sound of piano and the mournful violin of Chris Payne from The Gary Numan Experience add a new uplifting dimension to this stage of PAGE’s Numanisation process. There’s the classic mechanised octave play on ‘Vi Kommer Tillbaka’ which ramps into a sparkle during its final quarter in the vein of Foxx-era ULTRAVOX while the frantic synth punk of ‘För Du Är Rädd’ is classic PAGE.
‘Stop-Vänta-Nu’ opts for more solemn overtures but the excellent jaunty robopop of ‘Det Här Är Mitt Sätt’ and its four chord progression provides catchy riffs in that imperial synth vein with fabulous vintage Moog soloing in what was originally conceived as a homage ‘Fade To Grey’. Another highlight ‘Början På Något’ is gloriously bouncy in its glam sparkle but dressed in electronics, it even provides welcome reminders of ‘Dansande Man’.
Despite the ivory intro, ‘Frusen’ morphs into something more speedy with RRussell Bell of DRAMATIS providing frenetic guitar interventions while the downbeat demeanour of ‘Förloraren’ is bolstered by sweeping synths recalling VISAGE’s ‘The Steps’. On ‘Genomskinlig’, Bengtsson gets to realise more of his Billy Currie synth hero fantasies via his Voyager XL while at the finish, the intimate ‘Korridoren’ hypnotises in its beatless aural cocoon held down by a repeating bass squelch and eerie string machines in a manner that would make OMD proud.
An immediate and entertaining poptronica journey with the occasional spike of punk and the snap of glam, if ‘En Ny Våg’ sounds familiar, then that is kind of the point. As Eddie Bengtsson said to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK recently: “If someone tells me ‘that sounds a bit like early Numan’ or ULTRAVOX, I give them a high five. Because that means that they have understood what I’m trying to do”.
‘En Ny Våg’ is released on 29 September 2023 by Energy Rekords as a CD and vinyl LP, available from https://hotstuff.se/page/x-7640
Text by Chi Ming Lai
26 September 2023