Formed in the late nineties, this Swedish indie/folk band are a gem of a find.
We’ve all heard the mellowed sultry tones of Jose Gonzalez, as he mingled his way through the singer-songwriter charts with his release of the single Hearbeats (originally released by Knife). His writing talents had a past that I think are far superior as he spearheaded this talented trio through the 2010 release of the band’s album entitled Fields. The album has the joy of listening to Gonzalez’s blissful voice with the musical accompaniment of drummer Elias Araya and keyboard player Tobia Winterkorn.
The creation is a haunting electric undercurrent with a melody ridden backbeat created by Gonzalez’s intricate acoustic rhythms. In a sense the band have seemed to be much of a sideline project for Gonzalez, which is a shame as musically there appears to be so much potential. Their first EP was released in 2006 and it was clear that they had not quite found their elemental sound yet. None the less it did include a perfected cover of Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad. Their 2010 album is what turned the tables on a mediocre and nondescript sound to produce something unique but with that faultlessly catchy pop edge.
…It is an amalgamation of the much loved folk sound…
Amy Granzin (Pitchfork) says the ‘there’s more than one way to do chill wave…and it involves psychedelic space effects, boss nova sway, economical song structures and high fidelity recording’. This may appear a half hearted compliment, but this is a sound that is often difficult to achieve in a genre that allows little in the way of diversity. It is an amalgamation of the much loved folk sound and the ever so chart worthy ‘indie’ presence.
The high importance of a ‘high fidelity recording’ is not one to be ignored either. This album demands volume, despite it being quite a sombre compilation and this is centred on the intricacies of the instrumental backings and Gozalez’s polished lyrical overtones. The best examples of this are Without You and In Every Direction. I won’t lie in saying that they are musical masterpieces, but the tracks have a wonderful way of building up and honing in on base sounds to ensure emphasis on every note. Gonzalez’s more diverse musical interests in African rhythms can be heard in the song Howl, which keeps beat through gentle muted guitar backing, soft drumming and occasional cow bell rings. The album is essentially formulaic but this is not necessarily negative.
So why the excitement? Well simply because the band are now back with the release of a new single (Line of Fire). It builds on their previous work, taking the angle of starting slow with elusive electronic whispers then taking itself up to the climactic and almost orchestral vocal repetitions. I don’t think it offers anything new in the way of musical development for the band, but it is a promising start none the less. Watch their new video below as we await their new album release.