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Album Review

Sambassadeur's endearingly winsome debut album is textbook indie pop, of the gentle, bookish variety purveyed by the Lucksmiths, the Clientele, the Go-Betweens, and any number of other oft-cited luminaries, not to mention several of their Labrador labelmates including Acid House Kings and Starlet. So what sets this Swedish foursome apart in a sea of softly strummy soundalikes? Nothing much that one can easily point to, although there is something special in their ability to make even perfectly clean and crisp productions sound utterly dreamy and wistful. That's particularly true on the songs featuring Anna Persson's hazy, breathy alto; she's the most prominent vocal presence here even though Daniel Permbo's slightly off-kilter warble takes the lead on fully half of the tracks. While the album never strays far from the basic template of soft indie pop (best exemplified by the standout "Between the Lines"), there is plenty of subtle variety here, with synths, beat boxes, and melodica adding instrumental color, and loving stylistic nods to shoegaze (the fuzzed-out "Still Life Ahead"), post-punk/new wave (the relatively driving "Whatever Season") and classic French pop (the Serge Gainsbourg cover "Chanson de Prévert" — the band is named after another Gainsbourg song.) As well executed as all of it is, the record does undeniably trend toward the generic — but in another light that just makes Sambassadeur all the more comforting, and a sure bet for fans of the genre. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi


Formed: 2007 in Gothenberg, Sweden

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

One of the many accomplished indie pop bands in Sweden in the 2000s, Gothenberg's Sambassadeur make beautifully wistful, hazy music along the lines of the Go-Betweens, Belle & Sebastian, and the Magnetic Fields -- all of whom the band cites as influences, along with more left-field choices like Wire and France Gall. Sambassadeur formed in fall 2003, when guitarist/songwriter Joachim Läckberg, vocalist/guitarist Anna Persson, and guitarist/vocalist Daniel Permbo were all studying in the town of Skövde;...
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Sambassadeur, Sambassadeur
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