Originally published on So So Gay on 4 March 2014.
Perhaps capitalising on the success of the Shakira/Rihanna duet, ‘Can’t Remember to Forget About You’, which he had a hand in writing, Swedish pop artist Erik Hassle now releases his fourth EP, Somebody’s Party. However, don’t take his association with the aforementioned duet as an indication of Hassle’s own musical flavour.
Swedish pop artists are often associated with a more accessible and commonly heard electro pop, which finds them getting dragged away on writing duties for other artists from around the globe. However, Hassle’s own sound here is dark and brooding pop with perhaps a dash of contemporary R&B.
The six track EP even manages to squeeze in a couple of guest appearances. The first is Chicago rapper Vic Mensa, who makes an appearance on the stark and polished lead single ‘Talk About It’; while the second is label mate and rising R&B singer, Tinashe, who joins Hassle on ‘Innocence Lost’. Both collaborations work well, contrasting with Hassle’s rather unique timbre. Tinashe’s presence is especially successful, as her clear, almost angelic voice is the ideal silky foil to Hassle’s more raw and emotive stylings.
The EP’s standout track has to be the sublime ‘Ready for You’, where the wonderfully crisp production complements Hassle’s emotive and impressive vocal performance perfectly, in particular as he hits some haunting notes on the chorus. It’s the kind of track that is best listened to with the volume up high and lights down low, as you get lost in the rich sonic landscape.
Perhaps the only misfire is the EP’s title track, which closes out the otherwise very impressive and tight collection of songs, charting the Swede’s tumultuous love life.
A full length album is expected from Hassle in the near future, but for now Somebody’s Party serves as an excellent stopgap.
Standout Tracks: ‘Talk About It’ / ‘Ready for You’