Started by Pontus Stålberg in 1993, Destin Fragile took their time to release their debut album. When looking at the full band line-up which includes Stefan Nilsson and Daniel Malmlöf, one might expect testosterone fuelled beats and angry growls as Stålberg/Nilsson are also known under the name Spetsnaz, yet the end result is something completely different in this case.
Halfway to Nowhere is a really well made synth pop album on which anger is replaced by melancholy, resulting in an overall softness which is similar to what we would expect from, for lack of better description, Depeche Mode influenced synth pop. In this case, I’d really use the word “influenced”, since although you can at some moments put your finger on it, it still has more than enough originality of its own, as it is not predictable and is a quite enjoyable and interesting listening experience. The album has a nice analogue feel to it and wasn’t overly produced, keeping a nice clean and crisp feel to it.
The album opens with “Run Away”, a Depechesque song, which also has an accompanying video released and can be considered to be the album single, although the song was not released as such. Despite being a nice song, it does lack a bit of character which the songs following it have. Stålberg already showed that he has decent pop voice on “Over and Out”, which was released on the “Hardcore Hooligans” EP by Spetsnaz, so whilst his vocals shouldn’t come as such a huge surprise, it fits better on songs which were released a bit more freely like “In The Frame” and “Worlds Apart”, than on softer material like the previously mentioned “Run Away” or the album title song “Halfway to Nowhere.” For some reason, songs that begin with “In” ( In Your Eyes, In the Frame, In Plain Sight etc) for me ended up being the songs that stand a little higher on album, with “In Plain Sight” showing the biggest dance floor potential, along with “April Light”.
All in all, Halfway to Nowhere is a good and representative example of Swedish synth pop school and is worth a listen, with Destin Fragile becoming a band to pay attention to in regards to what they’ll do next.
Enjoy the video for “Run Away”!
band photo by Per Lindström