Has there ever been a better time to be a bedroom genius? Thanks to the wonders of modern technology it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, you can record your music, get it out and get it noticed no matter how uncool you or your home town may be.
Loney Dear are living proof of this. The latest discovery from the legendary Sub Pop label - lest we forget the original home of Nirvana and current home of CSS - Loney Dear is basically the alias of multi instrumentalist Emil Svanangen from Jonkoping in Sweden. He's been quietly releasing music independently for years, Loney Noir is album number four from him and it shows that there's much more to Swedish music than ABBA, Europe or Ace Of Bass.
What we have here is mostly acoustic, almost folky in places although there are some electronics lurking in the mix as well as xylophones, clarinets, pump organs and cellos. The whole thing is held together by Emil's falsetto voice and lovely and subtle stuff it is as well. Think of bands like Sigur Ros, Lambchop or Aberfeldy or even a singer like James Yorkson and you'll get the general idea of what is going on here.
Don't go imagining that this is fey stuff though. Yes, there are songs here called "I Am The Odd One" and "I Will Call You Lover Again" but it never sounds precious. Svanangen's major talent is as an arranger and he is a master of the delicate build up. Album highlight "I Am John" might start softly but by the end things are, if not quite rocking out, certainly sounding more Flaming Lips than Belle and Sebastian. This is the pattern of the whole album; songs here rarely finish in the way that they start and at a brief thirty three minutes not a second of music is wasted.
The whole album is a low key pop delight which reveals more and more secrets with every listen. One to fall in love with. --Brian McCluskey
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