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Sea of Clouds

TR 316CD TR 316CD

Since their formation in 1996, Swedish band Last Days of April has enriched the world with their enchanting indie pop. Their ninth album, Sea of Clouds, follows a series of outstanding releases. And yet the ninth studio album by this Stockholm band -- based around the songwriter Karl Larsson -- sounds so much more deliberate, mature, and balanced than ever before, while continuing the band's hunt for the timelessly beautiful Swedish pop song, in a snow flurry between Neil Young and The Lemonheads. The result is a wonderful long-player, and the group's most authentic and grounded work so far. This is surely due to the restrained instrumentation of the nine pieces. The songs are carried by acoustic guitar and piano, as well as by gently propulsive drum rhythms and immersive, reverberant guitars. It all comes together to underline Larsson's delicate, crystal-clear vocals in the most grandiose fashion. Sea of Clouds impresses with its shimmering melancholy and alternates between quiet, reverent numbers ("Sea of Clouds" and "Oh Well") and sprawling, guitar-propelled songs like "The Thunder and Storm." In between, there are charming and simply captivating pop songs/compositions (opener "The Artist" or "Everybody Knows") that have the character of classic Last Days of April hits. The pieces are always catchy, inviting the listener to dream, sometimes even to dance. In contrast to its predecessors, for Sea of Clouds the band dispensed with digital technology while recording and captured the entire album live to tape in just two and a half days, relying exclusively on analog equipment and recording without overdubs. Without countless synthesizer and guitar tracks that would create a glossy sheen, Sea of Clouds is somewhat purified and cleansed compared to previous albums such as If You Lose It (2004) or Might As Well Live (2007). The purely analog form of the recordings can only be realized in a handful of studios in Sweden or even throughout Europe. Last Days of April chose to work in the legendary Atlantis Studios in Stockholm, where bands such as ABBA or The Cardigans once cavorted. Immediately upon hearing the first few bars of the opening track "The Artist," it becomes clear that this was the perfect decision. After decades of touring around the globe, Last Days of April have delivered their strongest and truest work to date. Simply a beautiful piece of music, for faithful fans and the newly converted.