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Loney, Noir

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Album Review

Invigorating as a blast of Scandinavian air, Loney, Dear (otherwise known as Emil Svanängen) makes his Sub Pop debut with Loney, Noir. This is power pop mellowed by chamber pop sensibilities, but Svanängen shouldn't be confused with other indie multi-instrumentalists. In opposition to the typical "more is more" attitude of American indie acts like Sufjan Stevens (the artist to whom Svanängen will probably be likened, for better or worse), the throaty flutes and clarinets, optimistic handclaps, and tambourines embroider these songs rather than dominate them. As with other like-minded Swedes (Timo Raisanen, Jens Lekman, and Hello Saferide, just to name a few), Svanängen is a hook-builder, and his sophomore effort is built on breezy, straightforward pop rather than Stevens-esque orchestral noodling. Svanängen, like Raisanen, is blessed with an unbelievably high falsetto, especially apparent on "Saturday Waits." He also possesses a peculiar, rasping voice (when he isn't singing falsetto) and an apparent love of Brian Wilson, as demonstrated by the tight, soaring harmonies. The best moments on Loney, Noir are glowing, rushing, and immediately infectious. The album's first single, "I Am John," encapsulates this with its ebullient drums and breathless, surging vocals. It's the kind of song that becomes the soundtrack for an entire summer. Loney, Noir is an adolescent album, not because Svanängen hasn't yet reached his full potential as a songwriter, but because these songs are deeply interested in adolescent experience ("I'm a teenager, I'm anxious"). More than anything, Loney, Noir is almost ridiculously sweet, and this is by no means a bad thing.

Customer Reviews

To me this whole album is worth buying...

This cd is so good and i think anyone should buy the entire album and the song I Am John is really nice. I think the vocals has a very unique sound and is very good.I love it!

the best album of the year. so far.

i kid you not. it's just beautiful. download I Am John. if you like that then go for the album.

Catchy, progressive pop songs

Upon first listen I was a bit put off by the falsetto but then after subsequent spins the album really grew on me. If you are a fan of Grandaddy and Sufjan Stevens with a bit of Midlake thrown in the mix then you will really enjoy the original compositions of the songs. This guy plays all the instruments and records in his basement and then just layers away. It yields tracks that begin modestly and often finish on a strong, orchestrated sound. It's always good news when Subpop signs you to their label as they always support quality, indie music. I highly recommend this album.


Born: March 26, 1979 in Jönköping, Sweden

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Apparently, lightning does, in fact, strike twice. In exactly the same way that indie chamber folk auteur Jens Lekman was discovered -- his homemade CD-Rs falling into the right hands -- Lekman's Swedish compatriot Emil Svanängen ended up signed to a respected American indie label when someone in Sub Pop's Seattle offices happened upon the talented singer/songwriter's early homemade discs through the Internet. Hailing from the small city of Jonkoping, Sweden, Svanängen first began recording homemade,...
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