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PopCrush Presents: White Balance

Juho Länsiharju
Juho Länsiharju

Every week at PopCrush, we’re putting the spotlight on one up-and-coming act you need to know about. Why? So you can get on board early before everyone else and their mother jumps on the bandwagon…and so you can be that one friend in the group who’s always like, “Um, actually, I prefer their earlier work.”

U.S. music fans often think of Sweden as the cradle of irresistible Nordic electro-pop, as it’s brought us countless gems such as Lykke Li, Tove Lo, Robyn, The Knife and Icona Pop. But don’t count the country’s next-door neighbor out: Meet Helsinki-based duo White Balance, who hone their sleek, luminous sound in Finland.

Producer Ilari Heinilä and vocalist Maaria Nuoranne met as teenagers and, like so many in the digital age, cemented their friendship online. After trading tracks from favorites including The Knife and Imogen Heap over MSN Messenger, they began to collaborate and a band was born.

“Hunter,” their latest, is about “those lonely nights when you feel like your own thoughts become your worst enemies; when you just want to sleep but your mind won’t leave you alone.” The song’s dreamy sound ostensibly aims to soothe the internal restlessness it describes in the lyrics, “You’ve got your ghosts, you’re never alone,” as it urges the listener to “reach out a hand, open your chest / Open your heart.”

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The song’s video, directed by the duo’s close friend Juho Länsiharju, finds four solitary Finnish men dealing with their struggles alone — but White Balance says writing “Hunter” was no struggle at all.

“Ilari was just thrilled about his new kalimba and one night we started playing with it,” Maaria told PopCrush. “Suddenly we had a song. All those feelings from last Autumn were kind of captured in ‘Hunter.’ It was actually a pleasant process – we felt like we knew what we wanted.”

The duo’s previous single, “Flock,” is a much dancier confection, even as the lyrics match “Hunter”‘s introspection — and the glitchy, stop-motion moves in its music video may inspire you to rise up yourself. Is that a toy piano we hear?

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Love what you hear as much as we do? Stay tuned to White Balance’s SoundCloud page for more from the group,

Who would you like to see featured in PopCrush Presents next? Tweet us at @popcrush with your recommendations using #PopCrushPresents!

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