Album Reviews

Loney Dear – Loney, Noir

(Regal) UK release date: 16 April 2007

Loney Dear - Loney, Noir A fascination of the album format has always been its ability to provide a soundtrack to a particular set of memories, a snapshot of life. This latest record from Jonkoping’s Emil Svanängen has just such a potential, its yearning vocals and luminous scoring lingering long in the mind.

Think Belle and Sebastian or a touch of Aberfeldy and take that east over the North Sea to Sweden, adding exquisite touches of orchestration and a touch more wistfulness as you go, and you have a rough template for the sound of Loney Dear. It’s an unlikely signing for Seattle’s Sub Pop label, but Svanängen was discovered over the internet, and has since gathered a full band to accompany him.

This means the live show should work well, as there’s plenty going on in the background here – muffled handclaps, the quiet burbling of a clarinet, soft whistling and the distant chime of a glockenspiel are just some of the treats in store.

All are subtly employed elements that add to the charm of each song on repeated listening. In addition Svanängen is capable of subtly emoting his subject matter, in a way that leaves an impression. This is evident in the nobility of a song such as No One Can Win, which has a striking resemblance to the refrain of the classical tune ‘O Holy Night’. Images of the snow falling outside but a warm fire within are difficult to resist as the chorus soars to its conclusion.

Svanängen uses drums, but sparingly, and his prowess as an orchestrator comes through in the wonderful touches applied to The Meter Marks OK, a soft string-based waltz that finds a rare tenderness. When a slightly rougher edge is required he finds it, so that the gathering of momentum in I Am John finds a strange euphoria.

Artists that are seen to actively explore their feminine or sensitive sides on record are often given a hard time and accused of being twee. Loney Dear escapes that accusation thanks to the well placed vocals, with Svanängen’s voice exploiting that slightly husky timbre the Scandinavians do so well.

A real slow burner then, one that should draw in fans of subtle electronica from fellow Scandinavians Röyksopp, as well as those more guitar based acts named above. Give it a few listens, and witness the way it implants itself on your mind.

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More on Loney Dear
Loney Dear – A Lantern And A Bell
This Music Made Me: Loney Dear
Loney Dear – Hall Music
Loney Dear – Dear John
Loney Dear – Loney, Noir