The work of Stockholm artist Ms. Henrik bristles at the notion of conforming to a specific musical identity. Just as there is no way to accurately describe the landscape of his hometown in a single word, there is also no way to pin down the complex sound that resonates from within his brain and heart. Equal parts singer-songwriter and synth-pop supplier, he weaves a hypnotic mesh of rippling tonality and melodic grandeur — the music is always gorgeous and always compelling as it quickly echoes from one influence to another in a chain of successive bits of theatricality.
Returning with a new album in January of next year, Ms. Henrik will continue the emotional exploration of his own experiences, but he’s approaching his songs a bit differently these days. He’s still fascinated with the euphoric possibilities of music, but there’s less of an emphasis on synthetic sounds and more attention given to the empathic pop magic of his music as a whole. This is pop with a purpose and without need of guidelines or genre labels.
On his new single, “Soda Pop,” he mostly leaves the glistening synths behind in favor of something more organic, something more oddly traditional — although nothing really could be called traditional when it comes to the music of Ms. Henrik. And then there’s the saxophone. It seemingly comes out of nowhere to splinter your expectations of the track, presenting itself confidently and without reserve. The song also has an almost tropical feel, with breezy percussion and chiming guitars swirling around his persuasive voice.
The melody is infectious and subsumes your senses, extending the warm rapture of summer for just a little while longer. The song doesn’t merely evoke the feeling of brighter days and longer days; it creates a tangible landscape where our experiences are let loose to run around in shorts and t-shirts and given leave to forget the troubles of the world for a few minutes. We may have to wait until winter to hear his new record in full, but for now, “Soda Pop” easily keeps the chill at bay as we sway and dance in this ecstatic pop atmosphere.