Sailor & I is the brainchild of Swedish producer and composer Alexander Sjoedin, and this second release on Life and Death sees more carefully crafted soundscapes that sit somewhere between dance and pop.
At first glance, Turn Around appears less than the EP it’s been branded as, consisting of just two tracks and a remix of the title track, but upon deeper listening, it’s clear the record has been constructed to say a lot more than a single. Whilst soaring strings and dreamlike vocals combine throughout to form a signature sound for Sailor & I, the atmosphere created on the two tracks are diametrically opposed, hinting that Sjoedin is anything but a one trick pony.
The title track has the euphoric punch of a classic dance number, which twists, builds and drops so that you can’t fail to see how perfect it would feel in a packed club. “You could throw your love around/or you could turn around” - the lyrics may be simple, but they manage to spin a bittersweet story that feels quite relevant in the context and hints at a complexity that’s quite rare in dance music.
“Boys & Girls” explores that complexity further; slower and more melancholy in feel, the lyrics maintain their simplicity, but also feel open and honest. The first verse, “every laugh was meant to sound real/though we knew they never were/they were just ways to hide behind/to hide the love in our eyes” manages to set the scene that the main chorus of repeated “we were boys and girls” doesn’t need to say much else to tell a story of nostalgic lament. Musically, although the track is much slower and shows far more of the avant-pop influences than dancier “Turn Around”, the cleverly crafted drum part is still the star of the show.
Âme’s remix of “Turn Around” has been dubbed as one of the most anticipated dance tracks of the year, although this point is debatable, the German duo have definitely managed to give the track a different, darker spin yet again, with some deeper synth bass underneath and some driving hi-hats throughout. At twice the length of the original track, it’s nice that their version has longer to grow and build, so that when the kick drum finally hits four and a half minutes in, it’s immensely satisfying. Opting to take Sjoedin’s clean, slight Swedish accent without the emotive strings to back them, they work well in the minimal techno setting.
A third track on here would be a welcome addition, but overall the Turn Around EP feels sleek and stylish. It gives the impression that it’s been a meticulously and cleverly engineered, with every note there for a reason. It hints further that Sailor & I could well have what it takes to live up to the high expectations of the hype.