If there’s ever been an album whose artwork speaks to it sound, Morabeza Tobacco‘s self-titled debut is certainly a top contender. The sounds found here feel as if they drift into your ear canal from some distant, forgotten beach, as if the band recorded in some windswept cavern, just shy of the lapping waves. If it’s not entirely too cliche, one can even imagine the likes of ‘Something’s Missing’ calling to us from a mystical conch shell.

Morabeza Tobacco may not been reinventing the wheel, but it has no desire to. The Swedish duo do, however, sift into their lo-fi synthpop sound with absolute aplomb. Finding a home with Luminelle Recordings (along with fellow pop explorer Hana Vu), they’ve nestled their admittedly nostalgic sound with bursts of inspiration, with touches of playful funk, wounded psychedelia, and a general chillwave sensibility present throughout.

The song that brought them some measure of renown, ‘TTYL’ became something of a dominant sleeper hit, snatching nearly a million streams, and gaining recognition on nearly every indie publication of note. Still present here, it hasn’t lost any of its immediacy, a longing ode to a loved one growing increasingly distant.

Indeed, much of Tobacco’s music is grounded in lovelorn feelings, suiting their echoing, cavernous grooves well. The duo’s vocals also contrast one another with ease and great effect, Gustav’s effect-laden singing creating an entrancing atmosphere when blended with Vanilla’s comparatively bare power. If he feels like he’s intoning, it only increases the gravity of her wavering emotion.

The pair’s chemistry is one of Morabeza Tobacco’s greatest strengths, immediately setting it apart from many contenders in their lane. Meeting when Gustav stumbled upon his future musical partner’s set in an underground club in Norrköping, both quickly realized their tastes and hopes matched ideally, rapidly leading to a cemented partnership.

Also to the duo’s credit, and again setting them apart, is the fact that they, thankfully, never attempt to exceed their reach. While many in the dream pop field seem to fall for delusions of self-importance, miring their would-be life-affirming grooves in needless conjecture and artifice, Morabeza Tobacco always hold their strengths in clear view.

Their mission statement remains omnipresent. Speaking on single ‘Ally McBeal’, the duo inadvertently reveal the intent of Morabeza Tobacco at large: “Let’s hope that [it] is gonna help some people open up their tear canals for a little cry that makes them feel better afterwards”. The duo seek to soothe, to cast a spell with enchanting grooves that seem to always lurk just out of view. Its lack of pretension is sure to keep listeners returning to the well for more, time and again.