Is Sweden even cold? Whenever I think of Northern Europe, I think of mountains, yodelers, and folks with Princess Leia hair wandering around in big coats. Yet the continent keeps popping out some of the Ã¢â¬Â¦well, warmest albums I've ever heard. Par example: the new album from Logh, a band I didn't care about until this year. I started caring this year because a) I found out that the whole thing was recorded and mixed in ten hours, and b) it was released by Hydra Head Records. If Hydra Head had a cock, I would suck it. So this is right up my alley.
Both of those factors really show, too. The album is cohesive and really does sound like it was recorded in a short time-period. And while the band isn't yelling at you in 9/4 time, something about them sounds perfectly at home on Hydra Head. It might be the guitar tone.
More likely, it's the unexpected things that happen in each song. The way the first song, a short minimalist instrumental, hits a foreboding note and clears the way for song two. Or the numerous unconventional chord changes that dominate the album. Or the violence that ambushes "Trace Back the Particle Track."
Or, seriously, it might be the guitar tone. I hate to obsess, but there's something special going on here. The warmth mentioned above unquestionably comes from the bassy sound the album undertakes. According to Logh's website, it's their policy to only play the notes that are necessary. They stick to their promise, and each song feels weighty because of it. "The Big Sleep" and "Bring on the Ether" are perfect profiles of this.
The rest of the songs carry the same tone and feel, climaxing with "My Teacher's Bed" and "The Smoke Will Lead You Home." After a few listens, every song becomes equally memorable, while still sounding largely cohesive. No song comes close to clichÃÂ©. The exception is "Asymmetric Tricks," which would probably sound more at home on an Appleseed Cast release.
The only thing that could be considered a general flaw is the lyricism of singer Mattias Friberg. On "Fell into the Well," he informs us that he "fell into a well" and that he "fell through hell." The rest of the album follows suit. Underwhelming, but somewhat forgivable. I'm not very good at speaking Swedish, either.
I would have slept on this if it wasn't for Hydra Head. That would have been a gosh-darned shame, because it's become my favorite indie-rock release of the year. That's a victory for the band and victory for me as well. Any time I have to give props to Sub-Pop, I die a little.
8.9 / 10
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