Meet the phenomenal Swedish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanangen and his alias. But in his self-titled seventh album after a lengthy 11-year hiatus, he does offer a ray of hope: «It’s been a little bit like being out in the ocean swimming without anything to hold on to and now I’ve reached the beach.» Welcome back ashore brother, the voyage couldn’t have been easy. But what germinated is simply spectacular. One person who’s been listening is Peter Gabriel who signed him to his pet project, the label Real World.
Spectacular because his new music, and we’re cutting a bit across its varied personalities, is music that comes with a calculated attack on your senses and sensibilities. And while it pains, it nonetheless heals. His multi-instrumental mastery, often buttressed by an icy synthesizer, creates the effect of a symphonic joy ride that swirls and swells with multi-layered arrangements designed to endorse lyrics which are as dark as the Swedish woods in winter. Helping us recognize the inner demons in all of us but he counterbalances with euphoric passages of warmth and vigor, sung in an elf like falsetto. It’s crafty dream pop at its best and if you’re looking for any comparison, look no further than Animal Collective. That is, the genius one-man version of it.
The song «Dark Light» comes with distorted vocals, at once soft and scratchy, lyrics swerving from the romantic to the realistic to the very strange, driven by a pounding bass. It ends with a sampler of an Evangelical priest condemning rock. «Humbug» is a fastmoving track with jubilant strings and underscored by a bouncy r&b beat and a percolating bass. A tuba happily tubas in «Pun» and it contains the line «I follow streams». Which may sum up everything about the man and his art.
Live at el Lokal, a night of elegant and exhilarating dream pop making you feel Emil Svanangen got you right where Loney Dear wants you. Please dear, let him.