Loney, Dear Loney, Noir [Sub Pop]

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Rating: 6.0

First you see one indie rocker from Sweden; let’s say it’s Jens Lekman. Then they just keep showing up and nobody takes notice until they become a threat to our American way of life. You know the ones: the Radio Dept., Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, I’m From Barcelona. They come to our country, steal our dreams of playing homemade synth pop, and charm our socks off with their damn triangles, hand clapping, and sing-along choruses. We are face to face with a Scandinavian coup. If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

I am John Video
I am John mp3

Could it be that Sweden trumps us in the spirit of Do-It-Yourself music? Loney, Dear, though far from his first album, is Emil Svanšngen’s major label debut: a twee-rific disc gushing with cozy bedroom pop sung by a boyish troubadour. The charmingly homegrown vibe permeates everything because it is truly homemade and thus literally “indie” – as in this guy has been making it on his computer at home and distributing it on the internet. The album is sweet through and through, but few tracks capture the sugary warbling and simple structure that makes the album work as much as “Sinister In A State Of Hope” and “I Could Stay.”

“I Am John”, unfortunately, turns from a pretty ditty into a something with the feel of a merry-go-round gone berserk. I have to stop the track in order to stop the dizzy spinning in my head. My favorite part of that track, though, is this lyric: “I’m never gonna let you down, but I will always let you down.” Never before have I heard a musician sing such honest words! Our musicians will always let us down despite their best intentions and our highest hopes. This album only plays on one or two channels, but it is what it is (cute) and doesn’t pretend to be versatile or prodigious.

-Lily Cutler

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