In Cotton Candy (Escho and Cascine, 2022) they approach songwriting in a more perfectionist way that they have before. The song In My Head, an intricate pop ballad about the struggles of growing up, is a great example of how each one’s artistic contribution to the project tends to meet at the chorus of a song. The album is a gentle follow-up to their 2017 cult classic, A Prayer For The Unemployed. A body of work with 11-tracks coalescing around the quest of an escapist narrator stumbling through a broken world, winning and losing lovers, mood-swinging from extreme highs to hopeless lows. Throughout, the productions embody these themes, glittering with synthetic detail and hypermodern finesse, effervescent but elusive.
Vampire Boi a propulsive dance track, arrives with self-directed visuals of the duo as vampires on the prowl at a dance club singing that “life begins at night”. Alongside with What’s the Matter Boy and In My Head they are the highlighted club anthems with an introspective approach we’ll find in the record. These songs coexist with gorgeous and heartfelt tracks such as Someone New and Solitary Sundays, that open and close the record framing it as a more complex and thorough exercise than previous works. There are also moments of 90’s infused ballads like Fortuneteller and electronic modern elegies such as Commercial, a song about “the big wheels of capitalism turning around constantly and indulging in it” according to Anton.
If “boys with feelings that make music” could be a musical genre -and it is- Cotton Candy cements First Hate’s career with an impressive album that not only showcases their versatility for pop music, but also captures the narrative relevance that songs have when they play on the radio; they more than assert themselves by reinforcing the nature of pop as an experience of coming-together, rather than atomisation on TikTok.
Think Pet Shop Boys, The Sound of Arrows, The Righteous Brothers and Underworld, now close your eyes and imagine dancing to a blend of all of them in Copenhagen’s bests clubs. Anton and Joakim dedicated some time to talk about the new album, how a Korean pancake soufflé recipe video, the film Taipei Story by Edward Yang and Sinead O’Connor’s I Am Stretched On Your Grave were key to the creation of Cotton Candy, along with counting Cher, Scooter, and Andrew Lloyd Webber as musical influences.