Azure Blue – Images Of You

I must admit that I didn’t know who Azure Blue was when I was asked to review his 5th album ‘Images of You’. Azure Blue is the solo project of Tobias Isaksson from Stockholm, named as a tribute to ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ the seminal solo album by The Beach Boys drummer the late Dennis Wilson.

As anyone who knows my musical tastes will tell you I’m a huge fan of The Beach Boys and their creative genius Brian Wilson from their peak Pet Sounds and Smile era, so this artist is already off to a good start.

The album opens with the short ambient instrumental ‘Hokarangen’ followed by the duet ‘Entropy‘ featuring The Land Below, a synth disco sound which would have been at home on any number of early 1980’s albums but also recalling 1989’s Malcolm McLaren song ‘Jumping In My Shirt’. The album continues in a mellow electronic love song mood on the next couple of tracks ‘Event Horizon‘ and ‘Millions of Stars‘.

Title track ‘Images of You‘ featuring Paola is a more upbeat affair with shades of The Human League featuring a lead male voice with female co-vocals and backing. ‘Running With the Eventide’ takes the album back into a more mellow reflective mood and is a standout track.

‘Yesterday’s Gone’ is another gem of a melodic electronic pop song recalling peak OMD and again showcases Tobias’ knack to write catchy concise pop songs. Although this is one of the longer tracks on the album it still only weighs in at a 3 minutes 39 seconds.

The Land Below returns to duet on the next two tracks ‘Wild For The Night‘, which is possibly the weakest track so far but still not a bad song at all, and the beautiful ‘Shine On’, another of the album’s many high points.

Sea of Love’ opens with an electronic orchestral sweep before transforming into another beautiful sythpop love song and is arguably the best track lyrically on the album as Tobias delivers another beautiful ode to his girlfriend who was his muse for this album.

The album ends with the equally beautiful ‘The Rose‘ a gem of a two minute pop song and perhaps the most beautifully melodic track on a superbly crafted record.

I will certainly be checking out Azure Blue’s back catalogue on the showing of this superb effort.

Mark Wakeman

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