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Survival Strategies In a Modern World

Liechtenstein

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Album Review

With the release of their debut album, Survival Strategies in a Modern World, Swedish trio Liechtenstein will likely get lumped in with the Vivian Girls and all the other bands of the late 2000s who revisited girl pop styles of the C-86 era (and of bands like Black Tambourine who borrowed from that sound in the '90s). While it may be a somewhat fair comparison since they do share a few stylistic qualities like a stripped-down sound, a lo-fi recording style, and a songwriting approach that favors simplicity above all, Liechtenstein are different enough to stand out from the crowd. They do this in a few important ways. First, they bring on influences that other similar bands of recent vintage haven't delved into much, like the angular simplicity of Young Marble Giants ("All at Once"), the warm vocal harmonies of the Marine Girls ("Postcard"), and the bopping giddiness of Talulah Gosh ("By Staying Here (We Will Slowly Disappear)"). It's also very likely that the members of the band are familiar with the Messthetics comps that round up loads of excellent early-'80s D.I.Y. pop and post-punk groups; they have a similarly homemade and shambling yet well-constructed feel. You can hear it in the jumpy "White Dress" and the herky-jerky "Sophistication." Next, they deliver the songs in a sunny, breezy manner that's really hard to manage without sounding overly twee or insubstantial. This is down to both the rich vocal harmonies and arrangements that give the songs some room to breathe. Even the songs that have more of a punky, Shop Assistants feel, like "Roses in the Park," have a lightness and warmth that most of the other revivalists can't approach. Survival Strategies is a very backward-looking album — to be sure you could have thrown it on your turntable in 1986 and it would have fit in perfectly with the surrounding sounds — but it also sounds very good in the late 2000s, and that's what really counts.

Biography

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Liechtenstein's bittersweet, reverb-slicked sound, rooted in seminal twee pop acts like Dolly Mixture and Talulah Gosh, placed them squarely in league with likeminded early-2000s groups like Betty and the Werewolves, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Sexy Kids. Renée Gustafsson, Naemi Pebaque, and Theresa formed the group in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2005, and its debut 7", Stalking Skills, came out via Sweden's Fraction Discs two years later. Drummer Elin Engstrom was welcomed into the fold around...
Full Bio
Survival Strategies In a Modern World, Liechtenstein
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