BY MARK JENKINS
The conclusion of the Deer Tracks’ The Archer Trilogy series was recorded in singer Elin Lindfors’ grandma’s place, a remote cabin in the duo’s native Sweden. So it’s no surprise that the album’s brief prelude, “III,” has a rustic folk-pop vibe, although the wordless vocal-harmony piece also suggests such classical a capella ensembles as Anonymous 4. Then the synths kick in.
The three main elements in the Deer Tracks’ sound are electronics, Lindfors’ little-girlish soprano and lavish string arrangements (probably also synthesized). The backing tracks range from chilly dance-pop to more skittery, glitchy stuff, notably during “Red Eyed Zebra.” Lindfors’ vocals are often multi-tracked and frequently reverbed, and cohort David Lehnberg sings a bit, although usually not very conspicuously. One obvious precursor is Portishead, although Lindfors’ voice can turn a little rougher than Beth Gibbons’, and sometimes launch into Bjork-like trills. Another Icelandic connection is Sigur Ros, whose anthemic apogees are echoed in the lovely “Astral Ship.”
If that formula sounds good to you, then The Archer Trilogy Pt. 3 probably will, too. It’s lively, well-crafted and reliably melodic, with a balance between hooks and beats that makes such highlights as “Lazarus” recall those synth-pop lifers, the Pet Shop Boys. But the sound is a little too familiar, and — like a lot of Scandinavian music makers — the Deer Tracks are more style than substance. Here, at the end of part three, it still doesn’t seem to matter what #The Archer Trilogy# is actually about.
DOWNLOAD: “Astral Ship,” “Lazarus”