'Colorwave' Review: Belau brings the ocean waves to you in Caribbean-themed, female-centric downtempo release
The album sees the duo refine their sound, blending elements of trip-hop and dream pop into their unique brand of electronica
Electronica duo Belau is all set to drop their long-awaited sophomore album, 'Colourwave', on May 29. Belau first hit the scene with their 2016 debut album, 'The Odyssey', which earned them the Hungarian Music Award for 'Best Electronic Music Album'. Comprised of Peter Kedves and Krisztian Buzas, the band has spent the years since their debut performing all over the world.
'The Odyssey', despite being an ambitious project that saw the duo exploring their own unique sound, was still a cohesive release that showcased Belau's promising skills as electronica artistes. However, with 'Colourwave', they shift towards a richer, far more polished sound, one that layers in elements of everything from sounds of the Caribbean and ocean waves to trip-hop beats and melodies.
Conceptually, the album was built around inspiration drawn from the colorful diversity of the Caribbean islands and features several highly talented female artistes, including Blue Foundation's Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg ('Rapture') and Zero 7's Sophie Barker ('Essence'). The album is also built around the theme of water, sonically calming like 'An Ocean With No Waves' (a track off the album featuring R&B/soul singer Yasaquarius) while also incorporating various elements that relate to water in both the lyrics and music as well as visually in music videos.
The choice to build an album around water stems from Belau's fascination with the fundamental elements of nature. To that end, 'Colourwave' serves as the first in a line of projects that will each capture the vibe of a different geographical region in the world. As an accompaniment to this journey, the duo has also created a Spotify playlist titled 'Take You to The Sea', an extremely chill seaside mood playlist that is geared towards helping listeners find some amount of inner peace.
'Colourwave' is thus, at its core, a downtempo album that is perfect for where we all are right now. In a time when very few of us are getting to step outside and bask in the summer heat, Belau brings the Caribbean straight to you.
While there are several standout pieces on the album, 'Together Alone' in particular is a dreamy track that is wonderfully apt for the times. But despite the album serving as a way to enjoy what is missing from our lives, it doesn't create a false escape that makes you forget what the world is like at present. On the contrary, it's a release that helps you make peace with the world and yourself and embrace what this new reality means for us all.
'Rapture', for instance, blends Belau's developing sound with Teglbjærg's established brand of dreamy trip-hop creating something that sits comfortably at the intersection of flow and stillness all while Teglbjærg gently reminds us to pay attention to what our bodies and souls are trying to tell us. The more upbeat 'Breath' features Leyya's Sophie Lindinger and revolves around trying to find inner peace by reconnecting with who you are, even amidst a world filled with prejudice and judgment.
With this release, Belau is demonstrating their ability to go beyond the peaceful vibe of downtempo electronica to create something that is thoughtful and healing. 'Colourwave' is an explorative project that, much like its aquatic theme, delves into the expansive concept of self-awareness. After all, the journey into understanding oneself and thus, the world, is no different from diving into a vast sea — it's at once fascinating and perilous, enlightening and terrifying. But once you take that leap, what awaits you is something far beyond anything you could imagine.
With lyrics and vocals that reveal a longing for solace layered over elegant beats and sounds of nature, 'Colourwave' is wonderfully meditative and creates a soundscape that you'll find yourself getting totally immersed in. But while there you'll find that you're not lost, on the contrary, you're quite likely to find what you've been looking for tucked away deep within the recesses of your own mind.