record reviews - december 2019

THE GREEK THEATRE

When Seasons Change (Sugarbush)

When Seasons Change

Stockholm duo Sven Froberg and Fredrick Persson return with their first release since the standalone single Don't Throw Your Love Away, their third album a limited edition of just 300 vinyl copies (though you can doubtless download from Bandcamp), one of which should be in the collection of any discerning devotee of 60s West Coast psychedelia. Joined by Lars Fredrik Swahn on bass, piano and mellotron with Johan Svedmyr on drums, flautist Erik Lundin and Leo Sander and Sandra Marteleur on cello and violin, respectively, it opens with the short scurrying acoustic guitar-based instrumental Twin Larks before the chiming jangle sets in on the buoyant Laurence of Laurel Canyon. The title alone of The Post-Factual Jam rather speaks to its instrumental freak-out nature, but the strings-soothed Old Jawbone relatively calms things down with its orchestral pop clouds. Then it’s into the eight-minute opus of Bible Black Mare with its pensive bassline, moody haunted desert keyboard atmospherics and the early Neil Young-like vocal whine, the track gradually ebbing away into two minutes of ethereality and whistling.

Cello pulls back the curtain to the Open Window, a simple, airy sonic dawnscape of dreamy harmonies that lead you down into the walking beat, trebly vocal notes of The Streets You Hold and from there into the piano shimmers, flute and puttering drum rhythm of another instrumental, the hypnotic caravan sway of The Cabooze. Slow building in tension and sound, the hushedly sung six and a half-minute A Different Place swims in tranquil lysergic waters before the current gathers in the undertow and the tempo quickens, lolloping bass and guitar driving it through the canyons and rapids before finally emptying out into a shimmering placid lake.

It closes with Sail Away (Part Two), the sequel to the near-wordless, waves-washed track on their Lost At Sea debut, this time with lyrics, as violin and flute enrobed, crystalline pastoral psychfolk, softly dissipating into the ether in its final moments. From the outset, the duo declared that this was a project limited to four albums, and here they sing how there’s “nothing left to say”. Let’s hope not. Mike Davies

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roots-and-branches.com 2020