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Croatian Amor
Remember Rainbow Bridge Zhenzhen Yu , April 4th, 2022 08:58

The new album by Croatian Amor is a slick, slick machine with a nostalgic core, finds Zhenzhen Yu

Since the inception of stylish Copenhagen label Posh Isolation, countless coy Vår promotional photographs with Iceage's Elias Rønnenfelt, and the death of a project literally titled Lust For Youth, Croatian Amor’s Loke Rahbek has always been openly obsessed with the beauty of boyhood. A decade later, 2022’s Remember Rainbow Bridge feels like a return to that old preoccupation, finally directly reckoning with the chrysalid progression from youth to adulthood, but following it with little resistance.

Increasingly, the work of Croatian Amor has concerned the minimalist beauty of the natural world: ambient ideas on Spring Snow and Two Autumns starkly contrast with the aggressive and uncouth experimentation on Genitalia Garden and God Made Flesh. At a crucial turning-point of Rahbek's maturity as an artist, Remember Rainbow Bridge acts as refined reconciliation between the two modes of beauty that have long enamored him most.

Opening with synth tones that recall a gray city at pre-dawn, ‘5:00 AM Fountain’ thrums with a nameless restlessness, while title track ‘Remember Rainbow Bridge’ plays with lucent, shrapnel-like progressive electronic. Tracks like ‘Young Adult, Common Nettle’ feature samples that counsel the album’s coming-of-age subject: "You're aware that there's people around the world doing exactly the same as you, having the same experience as you, and although you're not there, you know that it's good to be part of something that feels that good." The spoken female voice permeates across the record with ‘Limerence’-like snatches of a stranger’s life: “I just want to have someone I can call, like, my own” or “It’s time to go home.” The testimonials are confessional and wistful, but they aren’t infused with bitterness at all.

A meticulous sleekness colours Remember Rainbow Bridge: its marmoreal electronic sheen, the simplicity of its seraphic cover, the titular ecru of billowing ambient cuts like ‘Alabaster’. While ‘Worthy Contender’ harkens back to a danceable club sound, similar to last year’s maximalist outlier Body of Content, most of the work here is a clean, empyrean synth. The darkest Rahbek gets is the penultimate stretch from ‘Cup of Humanity’ to ‘Alabaster’, regret audible in its melodic, downtempo throughline. But the final ‘So Long Morningstar’ is built around a gentle ukulele motif by Tobias Elof. It’s acoustically incongruous against the majority of Croatian Amor’s work, but imbues its conclusion with an incredible peace.

In 2013, Rahbek gave a final statement on the dissolution of Vår, recalling scenes from their last ever show in Japan. “And we have had snow fights, and of course we sing karaoke,” he described. “Everything is lit up, it is like a fantasy place. If this is what the future is going to be like, it’s really not that bad.” I think about that quote often, not even just in relation to Croatian Amor. It makes me think about the immateriality and worship of youth, how self-cognizant Rahbek was of that tenuous stretch of time, and the easy acceptance with which he moved on. Perhaps Remember Rainbow Bridge is that place in the future which he spoke of: his song is different now, but it’s all lit up and fantastical, too, in more a commencement than ambered memorialization.