Augustine Leaves Us Spellbound With Debut EP "Wishful Thinking"
It has been a crazy and magical journey in 2019 so far for Swedish sensations Augustine, Rassmus Björnson and Agrin Rahmani, culminating in the release of their wonderfully diverse EP "Wishful Thinking".
With both their debut and follow-up single reaching number one on the Hype Machine chart, each amassing over 600,000 streams on Spotify to date, "Wishful Thinking" has been met with much anticipation and it certainly does not disappoint.
The EP opens with the track that started it all and saw Augustine burst onto the scene, "Luzon". I’ve written about this before and said this to many of my friends and colleagues this year and I’ll say it again, it’s not often that a song comes along that is unlike anything we have ever heard before. Yet, with "Luzon" we are taken on an incredibly unique musical journey, transported to a foreign place where the sun is always shining. It’s a fine example of future-retro indie pop that sets the tone from the very beginning with a driving synthesized brass chord progression and smooth, yet forceful kick drum. The incorporation of a shaker and splashes of bell chimes as the track builds immerses us in a nostalgic love story. It’s always been the chorus that stands out most for me, with Augustine's vocals transitioning to powerful and elegant falsetto tones. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up as he delivers a catchy and quirky hook that can’t help but put a smile on your face as you listen.
We then transition seamlessly into my personal favorite 'EP-exclusive' track, "Viola". This EP is very versatile but I was delighted to be drawn back into the little world and sounds featured so prominently in "Luzon". This track feels equally as warm and features the return of the iconic percussion and bells, all packaged in a more chilled and laid back groove. Augustine's falsetto and sweet harmonies make for very pleasant listening in the most relaxing record in their discography to date. What’s particularly interesting about "Viola" is the way the upbeat mood portrayed in the instrumentation is, in fact, a stark contrast to the lyrics in which Augustine reveals feelings of anxiety and guilt, scared of not being enough. This is most notable in the pre-chorus, which features the wonderfully dark and relatable poetic lyrics: "Darlings strolling the gardens leading to your heart and lungs and I seem to nurture a hatred for everything and everyone."
In the title-track, Augustine, Björnson and Rahmani turn their hand to creating their most uptempo and commercial arrangement to date in the form of "Wishful Thinking". Augustine says that he is: "Weak for synth-pop songs that are so big that you just lose yourself in them" and this track is certainly a fitting attempt at crafting their own. A twisted love story tackling themes of fear, loss, and regret, "Wishful Thinking" is a melancholic pop anthem that will have you swaying and singing along to the chorus each time you listen. I have no doubt that the track’s driving synth line and sparkling dream-like pads will prove to be a recipe for success in the global charts.
Augustine’s second single "A Scent of Lily" at the time of release was the perfect illustration that these highly talented musicians are very versatile and are certainly here to stay. This track is incredibly cinematic, opening with an atmospheric synth pad and rhythmic guitar before introducing driving percussion and 80s synthesizers in its very catchy chorus. Inspired by Ariana Grande’s "Into You" and its short, sharp staccato rhythm, Augustine's powerful falsetto steals the show once more, delivering a hook that is packed with a punch. "A Scent of Lily" is the imagining of losing yourself in a relationship and is a track that oozes charm and as a listener, it is hard not to become as heavily invested and infatuated in this track as Augustine's is in his new found romance.
"Slacks" is delightfully different in its tone in the form of a ballad that portrays Augustine in a very different light. The sparse, raw and yet elegant arrangement allows the 22-year-old’s vocals to shine through like never before. "Slacks" is an example of music in its most pure and honest form, telling the very personal story of the Swede’s struggles suffering from agoraphobia after a long-distance relationship didn’t last. This track allows us to appreciate Augustine's hugely impressive full vocal range and will certainly be a very poignant and captivating song to hear live in concert.
This EP may be titled "Wishful Thinking" but with these five tracks that have been created and gifted to us by Augustine, our wishes have certainly been granted.
You can read my in-depth interview with Augustine here.
You can listen to Augustine's debut EP "Wishful Thinking" below.