Tuesday, November 27, 2012

REVIEW: The Garlands - The Garlands

The self-titled LP from The Garlands, out today on Portland, Oregon's Shelflife Records, is another worthy addition to the catalog of great Swedish indie pop.  I expect that they could claim to be musical cousins with fellow Swedes The Radio Dept. and The Concretes.  But looking beyond the borders of their home country, there seems to be a kinship with Rose Melberg's Go Sailor project and the UK's Camera Obscura, The Popguns and The Shop Assistants.  As you would expect with that introduction, the melodies are delightful, the harmonies soaring, the guitars full and chiming.

The Stockholm-based band originated in 2007 as a studio project with Christin Wolderth providing vocals and Roger Gunnarsson playing the instruments.  The current line-up for live performances is Christin joined by Patrik Lindgren and Einar Ekstrom on guitars, Maria Grum playing bass and providing backing vocals, and Robert Klaesson on drums.  Apparently Roger doesn't participate in the live act, but still is involved with the recording process.

Here is album track "Open Arms", which also has been released as a single --

The Garlands have mastered the indie pop template.  With one exception, the songs don't break the three minute mark.  While the vocals are invariably sweet, the pace and brawn of the arrangements keep the proceedings exhilarating.  And the overall effect is happiness -- what more could you want from an album at the beginning of winter?

Shelflife Records

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