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 Last Days Of April – Sea Of Clouds (2015)

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MensajeTema: Last Days Of April – Sea Of Clouds (2015)   Dom 28 Jun 2015, 20:14


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Sea Of Clouds (release date: June 19th 2015)

For 20 years now, the Swedish band Last Days Of April has enriched the world with their enchanting indie pop. Their ninth album "Sea Of Clouds" follows in 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.

It seems as if Last Days Of April have actually undergone a metamorphosis, have matured from caterpillar to butterfly, and now simply unfold in their full splendor. And even if the penetrating beauty of "Sea Of Clouds" might suggest a final stage of maturity, that would be too easy. Rather, Karl Larsson and his excellent musicians have managed to go through a process of transformation several times throughout the band's history – forward then back again, from the bottom to the top. And yet despite all the developments and changes in the lineup, one thing has remained constant over the years: the 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, which is 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" & "Oh Well") and sprawling, guitar-propelled songs like "The Thunder And Storm". In between, there are charming and simply captivating pop songs/compositions (the opener "The Artist" or "Everybody Knows") which 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. The band relied exclusively on analogue equipment. Unlike the previous releases, the group decided for a production without overdubbing, successfully achieving the reduced, organic sound that characterizes the entire album. By sacrificing the countless synthesizer and guitar tracks that would create a glossy sheen, there is the sense that "Sea Of Clouds" is somewhat purified and cleansed compared to previous albums such as "If You Lose It" or "Might As Well Live". Yet precisely this reduction is the result of tremendous efforts during the recording process. 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. Already upon hearing the first few bars of the opening track "The Artist", it immediately becomes clear that this was the perfect decision.

After two decades of touring around the globe, with their latest record 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.
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