Erik Hassle and his Swedish swagger return with new EP Somebody’s Party. The question is, can he compete in the mainstream, outside of his home country? Sweden is no stranger to musical exports, releasing classic bands such as ABBA, Roxette and The Cardigans into the world, so Erik has some pretty big boots to fill. Judging by his latest EP, the wait for another big Swedish act has come to an end.
EP opener Pathetic shows off Erik’s main inspirations and where he feels most comfortable. With a mix of vocals full of sex appeal and boasting a Prince-esque vibe, he ties this together with hip-hop beats and pulls it off with some chorus influence courtesy of Justin Timberlake. When you’re gonna sound like this, you’ve got to have the balls to really go for it, and Hassle does just that with lyrics to match: “The second I tasted your lips, it’s all over, you’ve got my heart in a twist.”
Talk About It makes great use of silence and sound, starting off nice and chilled but working itself into a lather with a standout chorus that leads into a bar or two from rapper Vic Mensa – rounding of a well thought out track. Ready for You draws on sounds that Massive Attack would respect, perfectly fitting in with the heavy bass and echo-laden vocals.
Even though Erik’s obvious influences are littered throughout, he succeeds in creating an overall EP sound that has enough difference to keep the listener entertained; a skill that too many artists fail to do. Tracks What is He Like and Innocence Lost prove my point; the former feeling like a tripped out Daft Punk with funked-up Drums, and the latter drawing from drum and base with R&B influences. These songs shouldn’t be able to sit next to each other on the EP – they should be too different – but Hassle pulls them together nicely with his talent for creating an overall theme.
If anything has to be criticised it would have to be the lyrics. They don’t feel like they push the boundaries enough in some areas, relying on classic cliché’s; but when the songs are mostly about love, sex, and heartbreak, sometimes it can be difficult to break away into something new. The music however more than enough makes up for this, and it’s a great EP with which Erik deserves to break into the worldwide mainstream.