The first non-compilation album release from the PC Music roster, Felicita‘s Hej! (Polish for Hey!) only shows flashes of the turbo-charged future pop that they made their name with. The rest of the album mixes piano, both live and programmed, with abstract ambient production that jars with the more animated sections.
The titular opening track features gently detuned piano notes and what sound like distant whoops and screams, before some Polish lyrics end the song. The following track, Coughing Up Amber, begins with more standard PC Music fare – sliding bass hits reminiscent of Sophie’s 2014 single Lemonade and synthetic staccato percussion – but dissolves into reverb after 90 seconds and languishes in a beatless haze for its second half, an effective left turn creating a sense of progression that some other songs lack.
There are certain motifs that are returned to throughout the album: the whoops and screams first heard on the titular track recur, as does a sample of stomps, claps and shouted “hej!”s. The tracks Elena and Elena Again are based on the same fundamental idea, with garish synth lines that leave echoey vapour trails underpinned by stodgy bass notes, and these touches attempt to bring coherence to a release that still ends up a little baffling.
Soft Power I and Ii were created for a dance piece in 2016, and while the intricate rhythms of I are an interesting contrast to the fluidity of Ii this might be part of the reason why Hej! doesn’t really click as an album. It is a hodgepodge of tracks, seemingly made with little thought to how they will all sound in sequence, and because of this it doesn’t have much more consistency than an eclectic music collection on shuffle. Which is a shame, because there are good ideas here.