Smart Patrulje is a Danish synthpop/indie-pop/electronic project. The band originates from Aarhus, but claims to work across places, time, environments, experience, and age. In its core, Smart Patrulje consist of sound artist/composer/producer Niels Gade, and songwriter, poet and storyteller Clara Locke.

“We like to involve other artists via online collaboration and, have as such, worked with and created music and films with artists from places like Beijing, London, British Columbia, Madrid, Ringe and Aarhus not to be forgotten ;-)”

On their debut album “IDIOSYNCRATIC”, Smart Petrulje dive into storytelling: Their songs explore topics of repeating behaviour patterns, loss, loneliness and becoming an adult. We’ve all heard countless songs revolving around these matters, yet Smart Patrulje sound like more than just pop with indifferent lyrics. They truly build stories and characters that we can relate to and reflect on.

No song is predictable on “IDIOSYNCRATIC”

While listening, “IDIOSYNCRATIC” reminded me of the time I spent in Copenhagen at the beginning of autum. When mornings were misty and mysterious, people biking to work emerged from the fog like ghosts. When the city felt suspended between waking and dreaming. “Copenhagen, where are you, Copenhagen, I miss you” Clara Locke sings in the song titled simply “Copenhagen”. If you ever spent some time in the Danish capital, especially in autumn, you can understand exactly what she means by that phrase. The song is a great example of Smart Patrulje’s sophisticated use of electronics and creation of melodies that can’t be put into the “pop genre” box.

Nothing is as it seems, no song is predictable on “IDIOSYNCRATIC”. When you start to think you figured Smart Patrulje out, they surprise you with an unexpected twist in their music. Inspired by industrial electronics (“Maureen”), jazz (“Copenhagen”) and rock (“You Girl”), Smart Patrulje smoothly lay lyrics over unconventional melodies. Clara Locke’s vocals are like clouds, passing fast in the sky on a windy day. Her voice is dynamic throughout the whole record: She is hitting gentle notes in “Invisible Woman” right after roughing it up in “Maureen”.

Smart Patrulje reminds me of Giana Factory at times, especially in “Here Comes Jo”. Perhaps that is because of the pulsating beat present in many songs on “IDIOSYNCRATIC” and Clara Locke’s vocals.

Smart Patrulje shine with “Darlene”

The highlight of the album is “Darlene”. The song is presented in two mixes and the idea behind this approach is brilliant, executed perfectly by the duo. In their words:

‘”Darlene (1983)” is about the journey from naive youth to adulthood. In the song, Darlene’s naivety is torn from her and, as a result, a part of her is destroyed. She hasn’t yet discovered how to protect herself, or how to put herself back together. Darlene represents the hole in all of us when the veil of childhood is lifted, and we see the world with adult eyes. The hole is forgotten over time, as we get used to and accept this new world.”Darlene (1993)” is the same story as in “Darlene (1983)”, but in a different mix. She has become 10 years older.’

Smart Patrulje present an album that has an exactly correct dose of mystery and ambiguity. They will keep you interested and engaged, but not confused. In the vast sea of “simply pop music”, “IDIOSYNCRATIC” definitely stands out as something more. Dive into it and see what you’ll discover.

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