Loney dear: A Lantern and a Bell (Real World) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, September 22nd, 2023  

Loney dear

A Lantern and a Bell

Real World

Mar 26, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

After listening to A Lantern and a Bell, it is plain to see why Swedish multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanängen, who performs under the name Loney dear, has attracted the attention and garnered the praise of an artist as perpetually creative as Peter Gabriel. Not only does Svanängen occasionally resemble the Real World Records founder when he pushes himself to the upper steps of his range, but his well-defined melodic structures are eerily similar to something Gabriel himself would’ve created in his early post-Genesis career. Simply put, a record like this is well-suited to Gabriel’s label and style.

While Svanängen’s vocal performances on the record may not be holistically consistent, A Lantern and a Bell is still a beautiful anthology. From the intimate and melodic “Habibi (A clear black line)” to the slightly dissonant, pittering “Trifles,” nearly every passage is purposeful, ambient, and stupidly evocative. With his rounded enunciation and numbing pads, Svanängen mixes classic and contemporary in a way that is both seamless and haunting.

On “Last Night / Centurial Procedures (the 1990s),” Svanängen harkens back to a simpler time, employing a more lowkey arrangement to strengthen his soulful delivery. The same can be said about “Darling,” which sees Svanängen loosely follow a reserved piano melody to choral bliss.

On “Oppenheimer,” his vocals falter but are nevertheless supported by nearly flawless songwriting that utilizes creeping vibrations to create unbelievable immersion. “Go Easy On Me Now (Sirens + emergencies)” is also worth a listen, if only for Svanängen’s triumphant Gabriel-like exclamations that soar above the unpresuming mix.

It may not be the perfect and victorious effort that it could’ve been, but A Lantern and a Bell is beautiful in all the right places and deserves a deep and purposeful listen. As a songwriter and catalyst for expressive musical memories, Svanängen is a modest master, triggering cerebral emotions that cut deep. (www.loneydear.com)

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