Swedish EBM export Sturm Café – the duo consisting of Jonatan Löfstedt and Gustav Jansson – has existed in some form for nearly 20 years, although their limited discography doesn’t exactly reflect that, with only two full-length albums, a handful of singles, remixes, and compilation appearances. However, what the band lacks in quantity is far made up for in quality, as Fernes Land is a well produced, modernized EBM record that is, simply put, fun and pleasurable to listen to. The opening track “Männer Gegen Männer” is a tone-setter for the rest of the record with an immediately catchy melody, simple yet solid production, and lyrics that don’t take themselves too seriously, telling the tale of a tension-filled train commute. Throughout the album, Sturm Café consistently delivers on these themes while still scattering some unexpected surprises along the way, including the ultra-funky bass line in “Funkbereit,” vaguely reminiscent of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” a “la la la” sing-along breakdown in “Discoiled,” which also translates to a KMFDM-esque self-aware track about the old-school nature of the band, and the strong ‘80s electro vibes from “Spielziet.” Also present are a myriad of retro synth hooks, which work to give Fernes Land a bit of a synthwave “cherry on top” of an EBM core. Löfstedt and Jansson have forged their own path down a well-traveled road of modern electronic body music, keeping one foot in the classic vein while using the other foot to wander freely, exploring additional programming, sounds, and elements they find appealing. This approach has made Sturm Café one of the most enjoyable acts in the genre, and this album one of the most enjoyable of the year. While brief, Fernes Land packs a lot into its under-40-minute runtime. It’s easy to digest, pleasant, and worth starting all over again once you’ve made it through your first serving.