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Where the Ocean Meets My Hand

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Album Review

Does the world have room for yet another shambolic, sticky-sweet Swedish indie pop collective? Better make room in your heart, because following in the grand tradition of the Concretes, I'm from Barcelona, and the incestuous hordes at Labrador Records, here come the preposterously named Billie the Vision & the Dancers (naturally, nobody in the group is actually called Billie). With their preposterously titled third full-length (following The World According to Pablo and their debut, I Was So Unpopular in School and Now They're Giving Me This Beautiful Bicycle). Yes, the cutesy index is predictably high — it's not irretrievably cloying (it doesn't quite reach I'm from Barcelona levels, for instance), but it's certainly pervasive enough to dissuade most anyone with a weak stomach for twee (you know who you are). Unless they're particularly good at ignoring lyrics: much of the cutesiness comes through in lead singer/songwriter Lars Lindquist's story-songs, most of which revolve around real or imagined encounters with fellow musicians — the Pipettes, Erlend Øye, the Ark's Ola Salo, Jeff Buckley — or possibly invented characters named Pablo and Lilly. There are also some relatively straightforward songs of love and self-doubt, and a reference-strewn ode to television DVD box sets ("Overdosing with You"). Musically, despite a preponderance of trumpet leads, Billie the Vision is actually less overbearingly twee than you might expect. There's an inviting warmth and rootsiness to the arrangements that recall the mellower moments of the first Aberfeldy album (only without so many glockenspiels). Even on the uptempo numbers (only about half of the album), the accumulation of accordions, fiddles, and rich vocal harmonies on top of the impressively assured guitar work feels loose and comfortably open-ended, rather than frenzied or forced. And, crucially, the album is rife with simple but effective top-notch pop melodies, even if they tend to bleed into one another somewhat. The result is a record of such pure, folksy sweetness that it's almost a shame the lyrical content is likely to turn many listeners away right off the bat. On the other hand, why should it be so objectionable to sing songs about love, friendship, and watching Desperate Housewives? ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi


Formed: 2004 in Malmö, Sweden

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Mälmo's Billie the Vision & the Dancers are a seven-member ensemble who play tuneful, chipper, folksy pop music with idiosyncratic, sometimes mawkishly sentimental lyrics. (Sweden has a seemingly endless supply of such groups, though most of them have a little more restraint when it comes to choosing band names.) The multi-racial, multi-gender collective revolves around a singer and songwriter named Lars Lindquist (not Billie, though he is unmistakably a vision: a statuesque transvestite with blue...
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Where the Ocean Meets My Hand, Billie The Vision & The Dancers
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Rock
  • Released: 11 April 2007

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