Saturday, November 28, 2009

Loney, Dear: Dear John

Artist: Loney, Dear
Album: Dear John
Date Released: January 27, 2009
Genre: alt-rock, indie-rock, indie-pop
Rating: 8.0
Loney, Dear is the pseudonym of Swedish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanängen. Dear John is Loney, Dear's third full-length album and the follow-up to his critically acclaimed Loney, Noir (2007).

On Dear John, Svanängen often treads perilously close to music that could be considered quite glossy and flowery, but his richly detailed arrangements and gorgeous soundscapes never allow the music to reach that point. Svanängen manages to darken these tracks with delicate moments of minimalism, his (almost uncomfortably) intimate vocal delivery, and plenty of minors and fifths.

Take the track, "Under a Silent Sea." Svanängen starts off with an unassuming acoustic guitar, but the arrangement slowly builds into one of the most powerful and dramatic tracks put out this year by any artist. The comparisons to Sufjan Stevens are not out of place.

Dear John is a difficult album to categorize and its charms aren't immediately recognizable. Stick with this album, though -- it's a real beauty.

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