Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
Everything Turns To You
Review of Loney Dear's Dear John
PolyvinylImagine a man, standing alone on a dark stage with just a guitar. This is Emil Svanangen, the principal artist behind the Swedish pop entity known as Loney Dear. Imagine the stage lights come up, revealing a carefully crafted backdrop of meadows, villages and blue skies but still Svanangen stands, stoic and po-faced, while the orchestra swells while somehow remaining oh-so twee. This was Loney, Dear’s North American debut, Loney, Noir. Now imagine the stage sets fall away and the lights dim, shifting the mood from Summer to Autumn. And still Svanangen remains, sad-faced and beautifully melancholic. This was Loney, Dear’s second 2007 release, Sologne. Very similar in theme and structure to its predecessor, yet somewhat starked in presentation.
And now with Dear John, the scene is set in darkness cut with neon lights and a metallic tang in the air. As you might expect, Svanangen is still mining the same rich vein of lost love and the songs still build to soaring crescendos, but the structures are more baroque and the materials utilized more synthetic and mechanical than in past efforts. It certainly creates a different atmosphere that takes some getting used to, particularly for those initially drawn to Loney Dear for their more sprightly orch-pop inclinations, but there’s still enough familiar moves and melodies to keep things anchored. Some of these moves and melodies can come off a little too familiar – Svanangen doesn’t seem to have as many tricks in his arsenal as one would hope, but what he does do he still does well. Dear John tries to walk the fine line between trying something new and not fixing what’s not broke, and while it does wobble as a result and occasionally strays farther than one might like, it still gets where its going eventually.
ABC News (!) has a video interview with Svanangen about his new record and Venus Zine has a feature interview. Dear John was released this week and is currently streaming on Spinner, and Loney Dear kick off a North American tour in support of Andrew Bird on Friday.
Lykke Li, headlining at the Phoenix on February 6, has released a new video.
Video: Lykke Li – “Tonight”
Shout Out Out Out Out are at Lee’s Palace on April 25 in support of their new record Reintegration Time, out March 3. Tickets $15.
Woodpigeon are marking the release of Treasury Canada Library next Tuesday by giving away an EP for free over at eMusic. La Commission Scolaire contains tracks from the album, alternate versions and unreleased goodies to go along with the double-disc goodness of the record. Woodpigeon overload!