EP Review: Assignment 1 by Sapphire & Steel (2020) (Fadeawayradiate Records)

Purely from the perspective of pedigree, the news of the forthcoming release by Dutch / Norwegian duo, Sapphire & Steel, promised more than most acts could ever conceivably deliver. However, with Estella Rosa (one half of indie-pop soon to be legends, Nah) and Jørn Åleskjær (of Loch Ness Mouse, et al, fame) justice has been served upon potential.
Initially, opener Home, is a fiercely contested stand out. With a semblance of comparative modernity compared to the remainder of the release, the track simultaneously exudes riffs that stop just short of genuine resonating chime (merely by virtue of deliberately subdued production) whilst providing a natural home for the sheer warmth and perfect made for indie vocals of Estella Rosa. It’s the sort of track that tends to head a playlist as it invites the reader to enjoy the prospect of finding something within that might match it.
The remaining two tracks see the vocals shared between the two, an increased level of swirling production flourishes and the salacious, rounded intonations that ushers the indie-pop foundation out of its natural territory and into more sophisti-pop climate. It’s a sound that is ‘everything 70’s retro’, without ever threatening to become pastiche, which even includes nibbles at a disco vibe, that achieves increased prominence in Susan.
This duo have always been ridiculously cool in their separate musical lives and that pervading template never threatens to change with Assignment 1.

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