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Premium Economy
celebrates with buoyant despair the near-glamour of all to which the squeezed middle class are left to aspire in the withered gloaming of post-War social progress in the West. As the advertising says, this album is the epitome of affordable luxury. It’s less upbeat than the band’s previous record, 2016’s World Power, the sound here peppered with heavier guitars and more aggressive vocals but retaining the jangle and jauntiness of Scandinavia’s character sound – mostly somewhere between Blur, the Beach Boys and the Byrds, with nods to The National, Magic Numbers and Wilco.

Following the zeal and bombast of opening track, “Priority Boarding,” the nihilistic individualism of “I don’t believe in Anything” sets the tone for many of the songs on the album, interspersed with the profoundly mournful (“Autumn Coat”), the deliciously psychedelic (“Melody Glade”) and an homage to the coolest of uncool kids-turned-adults who miss cassette tapes and the late 1980s in “Ghetto Blaster”.

Stand-out tracks include “Dans Le Monde Entier” – a gleefully tautological ballad to heartache sung in the most brazenly awful, couldn’t-care-less Anglicised French accent – and “Pax Americana”, which rounds out the album experience by battering listeners with a Spector-esque wall of sound and calling us to “hallucinate in a new world order” as society hurtles towards catastrophe, “a snake eating its own tail”.

My favourite cut is “Choose Science” – a brilliantly cynical electro-funk anthem to the absurdities of the policies and propaganda around vocationalism and STEM education, featuring cameos by clusterfuck queen, Theresa May, and softly-spoken Mancunian celebrity physicist, Brian Cox. Like the protagonist in the song’s chorus, “I choose feel, I choose soul”, and Premium Economy has plenty of both with swagger to spare.

Listen to Premium Economy by Scandinavia and purchase it here.

 

 

 

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