This is my latest find from the music I acquired years ago and never really listened to. The name led me to expect, well, club music. I'm not sure what I mean by that--something in the general direction of electronic dance music, I guess, with heavy beats and probably no great endowment of melody and lyrical depth; maybe something in the trip-hop line, but less interesting. And at first I thought that's what I was going to hear: the first thirty seconds are so like Portishead as to seem a copy or even a quotation. The whole song, "Love In December," could be described as a less dramatic, less quirky, less elaborate, and brighter Portishead-sort-of-thing.
But overall it's something different. The next song has a breezy, vaguely 60s-ish vibe, and the album as a whole is what I think of, unpejoratively, as a girl album: pretty, dreamy, subdued, reflective, introspective, wistful, with lyrics mostly about love, lost or found or unhappy. The tunes are memorable--I can't listen to it without having one song playing in my head for a while afterward, and it's not always the same one. The trip-hop instrumental atmosphere returns on "Say A Prayer," but for the most part the sound is more conventional. And that, again, is not a pejorative, because the straightforward unobtrusive arrangements are perfect for the material. It occurs to me as I write this to compare the album to some of The Innocence Mission's work, though the sensibility is very different.
It's a brief album, only thirty-one minutes, and there's not a wasted moment on it, not a second that isn't enjoyable. I do wish they had written more of the 51-second "London."
Here's "Hope For Winter," a representative track:
The band is/are a duo from Sweden. This album, their third, came out in 2001, and they have continued to put out albums regularly since then, for a total of ten, and eight of them have four-star reviews from AllMusic. The singer, who I assume is also the main lyricist, at least, if not the songwriter, is no longer a girl. I'll be interested in hearing how they've developed.