Sweden's The Mary Onettes create wonderful pop songs with uplifting, sometimes epic, melodies and dark, ernest lyrics. They manage to be clean-sounding - even polished - but never slick or insincere. And the latest edition of their craft is on display this week with the release of their second full-length, Hit The Waves (Labrador). Augmenting their organic sound with layered vocals and keyboards, this album makes a believable claim to have the band ranked among Scandinavia's finest current pop bands.
Here is the first single from the album, the grand melancholy of "Evil Coast" --
There is more than a bit of an '80s synth pop feel to this album. Part of that may be production choices specific to this album, and part of it likely is the nature of Scandinavian pop. But for me the quality of the songwriting and the Ekstrom's vocal delivery bring the work up to date, and eliminates the challenge that Hit The Waves is an retro exercise. This is a collection of very good songs; and that should be more than enough to score the album well.
The title track. Philip has said that this song was written after an extended period of listening to Peter Gabriel's work --
My favorite is the final song written for the album. For me, it sums up what is so great about this band. It has an '80s synth pop feel and almost cinematic grandeur. What's not to love?
The Mary Onettes are Philip Ekstrom (vocals/guitar), Henrik Ekstrom (bass), Simon Fransson (drums) and Petter Aguren (guitar). Hit The Waves is released by Labrador Records.
Twitter ( @themaryonettes )