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Loney dear

Loney dear

Real World

Sep 26, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

This Loney dear record is the first for six years. It’s a simple self-titled release, but that hardly means Emil Svanängen is a new artist. Between 2003 and 2011 the prolific Swedish songwriter released six albums, four of them self-released, with Sub Pop re-issuing 2005’s Loney, Noir in 2007.

2011’s Hall Music was acclaimed for its lush orchestration, but critiqued for its crowding. On Loney dear, Svanängen has finally hit the perfect balance. “Pun”‘s churning tuba counter-melody is just as vital as its incomprehensible vocal warbles, its electronic glistens, and its birdsong. And if all of this sounds like too much, it is testament to Svanängen’s subtle production that he pulls it off without it sounding overdone.

Svanängen’s appeal sings out in much the same way as the folk-turned electronic Bon Iver. An image of the songwriter on the central page of the album booklet is reminiscent of Justin Vernon: a silhouette of a man playing guitar, wearing headphones, two bare feet resting on pedals, the dabbled shadow of a tree’s branches setting the rural scene needed for this kind of introspection. Another image shows him lit up only by his laptop in an otherwise dark room.

This solitarinessSvanängen wrote, arranged, played, produced, and mixed the album himself (with just a few guest instrumentalists) seeps into his lyrics. On “Lilies,” it is “Painkill mixed with knockout from your locker, waiting to hit you.” On “Dark Light” it is “If you would know how silent a night with no others can be.” These lines are vocoder-drenched, and hung over gently poignant instrumentation, sashaying between lullaby and revved-up anthem for the lonely.

Most impressively of all, the sincerity which pulls Loney dear together in its most moving sections is never lost, even in its pop-leaning moments. (www.loneydear.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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