Sunday 28 April 2013

Skriet - Shanana

Album review by

There aren't an awful lot of bands around who are quite like Skriet (it's Swedish for "scream"). The duo began by messing around with a floor tom, a guitar and a synth. So you'd expect the range to be fairly limited, despite the numerous sounds a synth can create, but since that point they've progressed from messing about in their attic. They began adding lyrics (in Swedish) about birds, decay, friendship and love, until eventually they accidentally arrived at a point where they actually had some songs. A few years and a couple of albums on and we arrive at 'Shanana', an album quite different to any other.

Take the album's first song 'Ignoramus et ignorabimus' (yes, we'll be using copy and paste a lot in this review). It begins simply with, as noted above, guitar and drums. Then piano is added, then female opera singing, all at a mundane pace, until strange and orchestral sound effects begin to appear half way through. It's odd how such classical and old fashioned instruments can create a song that sounds so strangely futuristic; this is a space age song. Cosmic sounds proliferate this album, somewhat paradoxically considering the equipment used in its creation. 'Det kommer en våg' could be a translation of Bowie during his space period. Despite what could be conceived as a confused approach, this is a record that works excellently, and it's surely down to the pair's unusual introduction to the world of songwriting.

These are majestic and ambitious songs; 'Wir werden wissen' may start with surf guitar, but it ends like the soundtrack to interplanetary exploration. These otherworldly, cinematic sounds continue through 'Epigram' and the stomping, tribal epic 'De enklas dag', each building towards grand endings. There's a spookier start to 'De kosmiska mörka åren' but it soon lightens up. 'Godnattvalsen' seems to be a version of 'Auld Lang Syne' of all things. An album like this deserves a grand finale and this is done with the mysterious and incredibly slow-burning 'Kärlekspriset'. There really are exceptionally good tracks on 'Shanana', you could say they were as much art as music, but that would make them seem pretentious and overly self-important which they're certainly not. This is a quite special album.

Skriet's website

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