Photography: Simon Fessler
Christian Kjellvander is no newcomer to the music scene. His Alt-Country band Loosegoats had 5 albums between 1995 and 2012, his 9 solo albums and multiple singles from 2002 to now, plus an album recorded with his brother Gustaf and other band mates as Songs of Soil, not to mention many appearances on other band/performers albums. So why is it only now that he is reaching my ears? This makes me angry because talent like his should not remain so far underground. I now have the task of tracking down his back catalog!
Christian’s new album is an evocative and ethereal work. Lead track, “Strangers in Northeim” and the following song, “Curtain Maker” are very reminiscent of Low, Red House Painters and late Talk Talk. Guitar solos not unlike what Mark Kozelek would attempt. His baritone is so lush and thick it’s like a warm blanket you’d wrap yourself in on a cold night. He lets the songs breathe. The organic path each track takes makes you feel like a child at story time where you are hypnotized by the words and wonder how it’s going to end.
Don’ let the down tempo of the first few songs lead you to believe the whole album is that way. He peps up for “The Thing Is” with some great electric guitar work and keyboards with a very ‘mellotron’ sound to them (possible they are). It’s truly the highlight of this album.
‘Halle Lay Lu Jah’ has some amazing wordplay and would make an excellent single. “That’s an ugly horse. And you’re an ugly human”, “You dabbled in it, like children dabble in evil. How did it go?” Pure anger delivered in a calm intonation a la Mark Lanegan’s later solo work.
Album closer, “Fake Guernica” is romantic and gentle with some edge. The whole thing glides so smoothly you’ll swear you just started it when it ends. You’ll also put it back on and listen repeatedly. This is definitely an album that came out of left field and knocked me for a loop. If I had a star rating system I wouldn’t have enough stars for it.
Album is released October 26th on Tapete Records
Michael Mitchell's love of music started at an early age and slowly became an addiction that courses through his veins to this very day. It is guaranteed that if you are in his proximity that he will try to get you to travel to the nearest record store and make you buy beyond your means. His wife and two children acknowledge his problem and continue to encourage him into rehab.
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