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Club 8 Endure a Perverse Kind of ‘Pleasure’ on New Album

The Swedish pop duo come to terms with love's changing face on their ninth studio release

In his 20-plus years as a musician, Club 8’s Johan Angerga?rd has written a what seems like an infinite number of songs about love. And if his fifth album as the Legends, appropriately titled It’s Love, was about “falling in love and being in love,” as he told SPIN in June, then his ninth record with Club 8, which arrives on November 20 via his own Labrador Records, is about “how love changes.”

These ideas aren’t arbitrary; all of the Swedish pop player’s work this past year has been autobiographical. “I did write It’s Love because I met a new girl. It was that simple,” says Angerga?rd over Skype. “I mean, it’s about me. And I guess [the new Club 8 record] is too. So when life changes and love changes, my songs change.”

That metamorphosis is clear in Club 8’s latest, simply titled Pleasure (streaming below), which also happens to coincide with Angerga?rd and vocalist Karolina Komstedt’s 20th year recording music together. “We met when we were very young and were a couple for five years,” writes Komstedt over email. “We broke up but continued as a band. Now we’re are a bit like sister and brother.”

The duo’s winking taste for irony immediately presents itself in their record’s title. How can you call something about love’s slow erosion Pleasure? “We humans tend to enjoy the things that hurt,” says Komstedt. “Again and again we make the same mistakes with the same almost masochistic stupidity. We fall for people who do not acknowledge us and do things that are not good for us. And at the same time we love it.”

Angerga?rd, who is Club 8’s primary songwriter and also plays in Labrador projects like Acid House Kings, Eternal Death, and Pallers, looks at the album’s eight tracks as an avenue to ruminate over love’s basic limitations. “[Pleasure] reflects love and sexuality, and things that are supposed to be pleasurable but come with anxiety, too-high hopes, or unmet longings,” he says.

Pleasure’s tracks, though glossy with dancefloor-ready, ’80s-era synths, boast gloomy titles that echo the pair’s wistful meditations (“Love Dies,” “Jealousy,” “Promises We Never Meant to Keep”). “[The record is about] wanting things to be something that it will not be,” says Angerga?rd. “And it’s very difficult for another person to live up to this.”

Another look at Angerga?rd and Komstedt’s evolution lies in the warm, turned-down “Kinky Love,” an unusually bodily song for its writer, who in the past has penned more innocent-sounding words of affection — or the lack thereof (“You and Me,” “Someday”). “What I write about in ‘Kinky Love’ is that now I feel like being a bit more explorative and sometimes you feel like being very basic,” says Angerga?rd. “I think it’s a lot more interesting to be curious. But I’m not into really strange things; this strangling thing seems quite common. But that’s not for me.”

So what is the right thing for Angerga?rd and Komstedt in a relationship, ultimately? Do they believe it’s possible to ride off into the sunset with someone and never look back? “For people like me and Johan, we have not been very successful in that department,” says Komstedt. “At the same time you see many people who prove that it is possible — people who live side-by-side and and enjoy each other’s company year after year.”

“I think I can go around for five or six years really feeling strong emotions for a person but still thinking that it’s going to end,” says Angerga?rd. “Because there are certain problems. I always wonder, ‘Oh, is this right? Is this the right thing?’”

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