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The Lake Acts Like an Ocean

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Album Review

Thomas Denver Jonsson may be from Sweden, but his heart is in the singer/songwriter mecca of the Pacific Northwest. The Lake Acts Like an Ocean is Jonsson's third album, and like its predecessors, these 14 songs are based on Jonsson's self-consciously angsty vocals and lightly folkish acoustic guitar, often with little other accompaniment. Comparisons to M. Ward, Elliott Smith, Iron and Wine and the rest of the Seattle/Portland indie scenes are inescapable, and undoubtedly exactly what Jonsson is shooting for. On some songs, most notably "You Were the Holiday" and the steel guitar-enhanced country-rock ballad "One of My Blessings," Jonsson even puts on a strangely fake rural-Americana accent that sounds more like Neil Young singing through a severe head cold. That affectation is particularly annoying in the case of the latter song because musically, it's one of the most immediately appealing things on The Lake Acts Like an Ocean, alongside the ghostly, twinkling electronica of "Possession" and the weepy, organ-driven ache of "After the Earthquake." The Lake Acts Like an Ocean sounds uncomfortably derivative at many points, but there are more hackneyed sounds to cop than this brand of mopey singer/songwriter pop, and Jonsson does his stylistic imitations with such evident love of the originals that it's difficult to fault him.


Born: 1979 in Sweden

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Born in 1979, Swedish singer/songwriter Thomas Denver Jonsson didn't start playing guitar until he was 20 years old, but he's been furiously making up for lost time ever since. By the end of 2002, Jonsson had already assembled a superb backing band, the September Sunrise, and had put out four-self-released EPs of original songs he sold at his gigs. Jonsson's powerful yet emotionally intimate songs and performing style, which suggest the influence of Neil Young and Will Oldham, attracted the attention...
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The Lake Acts Like an Ocean, Thomas Denver Jonsson
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