Time to delve into some moody pop inspired rock on Slim Loris’s Love and Fear…
Slim Loris is a Swedish pop inspired rock quartet that has been working together since 2009. The group was originally a duo with Mattias Cederstam on vocals and bass and Robert Barrefelt on guitar, but shortly thereafter they filled out there sound with the addition of drummer Jonas Ellenberg and vocalist and guitarist Leon Lindstrom. Although Sweden has become known for their sweet pop confections from the likes of Tove Lo and Max Martin (think “Baby One More Time” or almost any Top 40 pop hit if you’re pulling a blank), Slim Loris brought something a little different to the mix.
Inspired by the rocking sounds of the British Invasion in the 1960s, the quartet has brought a unique rocking edge to their music. After releasing a few EPs, the band released their debut album Down to Earth in 2010, on which they established a more melancholic sound that is a-typical of the brighter tones of invasion artists like The Beatles. In 2013, it was clear that the band’s unique blend of pop, melancholy, and rock was working when they achieved international acclaim for their Future echoes and past replays album. Now, after a year of touring Slim Loris is back with their third studio album Love and Fear, which is set to drop on May 19. True to practice, they’re delivering their personal blend of sounds to create something that is as evocative as it is addictive.
Read my review of Love and Fear under the cut!
Love and Fear kicks off with “Never Danced Sober,” a track resplendent with strings and a subtle drum line. The song is about losing yourself to the music and taking risks to find what you really desire. The sombre cut starts with a drink or two at the bar, before getting lost in the revelry. Cederstam’s vocals are wonderfully raspy as he sings of waking up the next day after a night of revelry and adventures while drunk. There is a sense of longing to the track, as the lyrics imply that the release comes from a drink and lowered inhibitions. A struggle we are all familiar with to some extent. After such a sobering topic (see what I did there?), “Higher” takes the band in a lighter direction production wise. Over a gentle instrumental track, Cederstam’s vocals soar higher than ever before as he sings about finally getting things right and achieving the ultimate high.
“Going Home” is another softer track, featuring airier strings and a hand played drums. The song’s production is enjoyable and sweet as the lover that Cederstam describes, but it is equally as dangerously entrancing as the vice described in the lyrics. The band dances around the theme, detailing an encounter with a lover and how to survive the experience. Love and Fear’s lead single “Down” is one of the standout moments on the album. Featuring a driving production that displays their pop origins as well as their rock melodic approach, Slim Loris sing about a woman who leads the band to their demise. The structure on the verses is particularly engaging, as Cederstam’s voice rises in pitch and his phrasing changes to reflex the nature of the relationship. Everything about “Down” is compelling, from the instrumental bridge filled with vocal improvisations to the thoughtful lyrics and engaging production. With just the lightest hints of something brighter, the track tells the story of a destruction that I would actually enjoy to experience firsthand.
After an intriguing ride through a slew of emotions, Love and Fear comes to a close with the dreamy “Once,” a track about getting things right, even just once. I will be the first to admit that I am more than a little in love with this track. In spite of previous failings, there is a sense of hope over the dreary production. Lyrically, this is the song for someone who isn’t willing to give up and is determined to step outside of their protections and take a risk. Cederstam’s vocals are at their most impressive here, and the instrumental behind him is equally phenomenal. This is the song for any rainy day, as it is a reminder that the sun is just a few hours away on the horizon. A perfect cut, and a perfect way to end an amazing album!
Love and Fear is a strong collection of tracks from Slim Loris. Their roots in British Invasion rock are evident from the first bars of “Never Danced Sober,” but the band doesn’t pigeonhole themselves in one particular genre. This gives them the opportunity to pull more influences from across a wider variety of inspiration to create a sound that is much more unique. Sweden has been a foreign capital of music for ages, and Slim Loris are yet another example of their musical excellence.
The album is overflowing with strong melodies, impressive lyrics, and wonderful craft. Lyrically the album is filled with bittersweet moments, longing, and hope for a better tomorrow. The production may be morose, but the overwhelming message is one of strength and creativity. The album displays a sharp wit and intelligence in terms of topics covered. There are love songs, songs of addiction, songs of failing, and so much more; however, each song is open for interpretation. The album feels very self guided, despite the fact that it is curated. You get out what you put in to Fear and Love, and there truly is a lot to take in. Cederstam’s vocals are consistently strong, displaying the ability to effortlessly modify themselves to emote on a variety of tracks. Instrumentally, Slim Loris is equally impressive as they display seemingly effortless sounds consistently.
Fear and Love is going to be a hugely successful venture for Slim Loris. The album sets them apart from their contemporaries and is entirely engaging from start to finish! Pick up a copy when it hits markets on May 19 and let me know what you think! Until then, enjoy streaming the album’s first single above!
Final Verdict: 4 Stars, and an Engrossing Collection
Love and Fear is set for release on May 19, 2015. If you're interested in learning more about Slim Loris, check the group out on their social media accounts. They can be found on their Official Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud, and Band Camp.