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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

a stellar album

This is Loney‚ Dear’s third album (but first US release) and it is a great introduction to the band. Having seen them live in a few settings (and having their other three albums—the fifth is currently being recorded) I must say that Emil is one of the few indie singers right now that can actually hit his notes live‚ and hit them all‚ and that's quite refreshing. Seeing them (they tour as a five-piece) in really small venues is obviously the best‚ as the songs are perhaps more intimate in person than on the record! Get this now!

simply beautiful

Pitchfork didn't give Loney, Noir a stellar review but Pitchfork is mistaken. The lead singer's voice is beautiful and clear - i love Scandinavian accents! I also love the use of clarinet and flutes in this music. Songs tend to start off simply and then build, as layers of music are added. it's wonderful!!! My favorites are: Sinister in a State of Hope Hard Days I Am John I Will Call You Lover Again (but really you should buy the whole album!!!)

Quitting so soon?

The music, melody, lyrics: brilliant. While his music is creative & truly experimental, Loney, Dear doesn't sacrifice common sense in his 'experimentation’ but finds a stunning yet sensible blend of melody, theme, and ingenuity. When you listen to “I am John” or “Sinister” or “Carrying a Stone” you get the sense that this guy knows how to persevere until a song is perfected. Is it really true that he is going to quit making music altogether by new years eve 2009?


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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Loney, Noir, Loney Dear
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Customer Ratings