We’re always excited here at the Send Me Your Ears studio when Arn-Identified Flying Objects and Alien Friends reach the top of our reviews pile. The latest single, No Sweet Dreams is, we think, the fourth review we’ve completed for this versatile Swedish artist.
No Sweet Dreams is, on the surface, a song about illness (or maybe drug abuse), but at its core, it is a sad song about love – or at least memories of love.
From the moment the song starts, you are instantly absorbed by an upbeat disco drum track. The song is instantly engaging and exciting. In Arn’s true multi-genre style, the decision to include a whistle solo on this track is a brave one, but it is thoroughly engaging. It really works, and as listeners, we all felt totally invested in the track by this point. The drums are bright and present – very reminiscent of 80s-style drum production, with a lovely percussive bell thrown in for extra interest.
Vocally, and stylistically, the song reminds us a little of 80s Pet Shop Boys. With the addition of some layered and harmony vocals in places, there’s also just a touch of ABBA about this track. What a versatile artist and songwriter Arn is!
There’s a beautiful, almost classical-feeling string section in one place and at any given moment in the song, there is plenty to listen to. Each section leads seamlessly into the next.
We love the breakdown section with the change up to telephone-style filtered vocals that leads back into the same whistled riff that the song started with – this is carefully considered scoring and arrangement that shows a great deal of thought has gone into this track.
Arrangement-wise, we were particularly impressed with how each verse starts relatively gently and as it progresses, more and more instrumentation is added before exploding back into the chorus.
With a long fade out on a mostly instrumental section, this is a song which makes you want to hit repeat immediately and be transported back to those 1980s roller discos!!
From a production perspective, this is a really bright-sounding track with a great rhythm. We felt that the vocals get a little lost in places so a boost in the 5-8kHz range would help make them a little clearer. Also, more compression on the vocal track would help make the quieter and softer parts more prominent in the mix. Maybe 4:1 and peaking around 10dB of gain reduction with some make up gain.
Yet another superb track from Arn-Identified Flying Objects and Alien Friends, No Sweet Dreams is a definite winner for fans of disco, power pop, Pet Shop Boys and similar.