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Sweden has a quiet history of producing some rather lovely music through the years and Slim Loris add to that catalogue. Here on their latest album 'Future Echoes and Past Replays', they offer up an album brimming with songs that glow with life and verve. Opener 'Fear of Flying' is a pop filled sugar-rush, rumbling in on a Pixies pop pulsing bass, then launching into a chiming sunshine song. It recalls the perfect rock/pop of nineties hits such as the Gin Blossoms' 'Follow You Down' and 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' by Deep Blue Something. After that guilty pleasure start Slim Louris waltz us into 'Head on the Floor'. This is a gentler, simple song that tells a tale of a girl's day and how he longs for her as there's "no place I’d rather be." The song has a stately grace, held up by an earthy and warm vocal.
Evoking a windswept, storm-flecked landscape 'Domestic' has an immediate, darker, menacing feel. It becomes a duet between two souls both lyrically and aurally, as a sweet female counterpoints the male. For all its dark undercurrent, the song becomes a celebration of love protecting you in the "darkest hour". By 'While I Breathe' the pop rush of the start is long forgotten as a plaintive piano ushers in a melancholia bent with its sombre tones. Simple strings and words of struggle heighten the drama of the song. 'In Silence' can only be a fuller song in comparison, but it feels muddled, too much 'kitchen sink' thrown in, and struggles to find a cohesive structure. After the muddle of 'In Silence', 'Vision of Tomorrow' fares so much better. A country-pop song in the realms of NEEDTOBREATHE, 'Vision of Tomorrow' can be heard blasting out of radios somewhere in the endless lands of the Midwest. Under its sheen it has an folky earthiness to it and the vocals are impassioned in the vein of The Waterboys' Mike Scott. Another beatific piano line introduces us to 'I Will Forget'. This song has an almost nursery-rhyme-like wonderful simplicity to it. Then there is a true sense of lost and longing as you hear that "I'll forget you in the end".
Bringing back the folk earthiness that was used so well in 'Vision of Tomorrow', a foot-tapping beat and lovely use of a penny whistle gives 'Clean as a Whistle' a carefree air. Then it finds a rawer spirit, with a stomping break bringing to mind Seth Lakeman. Childlike chimes wrong-foot you slightly at the start of 'Hero', this is another song that falters slightly and struggles to find itself. At times it has elements that standout, but overall the song suffers from another somewhat rudderless feel. The last handful of songs closing out the album start with 'Norah', it's a simple country-pop song that is somewhat forgettable, but has a sweet feel to it. Penultimate song 'Awakening', is better fare, opening with almost Coldplay-like grandeur and the strongest vocal yet. It matures into a graceful and powerful modern adult rock song. It almost falls into Nickleback cliché, but manages to stay the right side of emotive by being truly impassioned. And to 'Future Echoes and Past Replays' closer, 'October in White'. This is true alt-country lament sung across a lone electric, its warmth coming from its words and a subtle use of harmonies. And as the album bows out Slim Loris have given us an record that has has moments of great quality and song-crafting.
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