Swedish band, Slim Loris released “Love and Fear” on May 19, 2015. The general sound is a mixture of several familiarities. It’s interesting to listen to a group that I would characterize as a sponge, as they have clearly absorbed influences from many different time periods as well as genres. There are clear pieces of 60’s rock ‘n’ roll, coupled with an indie folk vibe and a slight hint of pop. The distinction even further presents itself in the form of guitar solos, rich harmonies, and well-crafted tracks. The combination of these influences gives us a unique listening experience as we journey through “Love and Fear.”
The album opens with “Never Danced Sober,” which quickly introduces you to a rich bass line and the warm vibrato of Mattias Cederstam. The mood is relaxed, providing the means to really pay attention to the nuances within the instrumentation of the song. Lyrically, I really enjoy the poeticism in the chorus: “But I have worn too many faces; I seem to be a stranger to myself.” The song is a fantastic introduction to the rest of the album, as it only broadens and widens from here. We are then taken into “Higher,” which leans, even more so, on the acoustic guitar, allowing the vocals room to soar passionately over it. Slim Loris uses the chorus’ repetition of the word “higher” to emulate an airy feeling. The electric guitar is simply notated, but it resonates with the theme of the song, blending everything together extremely well. With these two tracks opening the album, I was excited to see what was still to come.
“Going Home” sways to the folk side of the game, mixing things up, once again. The acoustic guitar is beautifully played, and the harmonies shine through in the chorus, elevating the level of emotion in the song. “Better Than I” is another folksy tune. It’s romantic and well written, with harmonies featuring a female voice. The female vocals are a wonderful addition to the sound, providing the middle of the album with a quirkier side. “King And Queens” sits somewhere between folk, country, and blues, as a horn section steals the show. The vocals are purposely rather gritty, and they are controlled extremely well. It sounds great. Cederstam continuously shows the range of his vocal abilities by demonstrating the smoother side, the rougher side, as well as a very solid vibrato.
“Sparkling Sun” takes on a much more rock ‘n’ roll vibe, as the catchy riff is the first thing you latch onto as you listen. The vocals are more distorted and the band begins to show dimension and their vastly dynamic musicianship. “Down” exhibits a great indie rock vibe, complete with rich and full harmonies, along with a driving and constant beat, keeping the song moving forward. These are my favorite harmonies on the album, and while they sweeten up the tone, the song remains a force on the record. “Violet Haze” comes back to a 60’s rock ‘n’ roll sound. The under produced sound is refreshing and transitive. I appreciate the real drum sound, and the slightly distorted guitars.
The part of the album I most enjoy are the last three tracks, including, “World,” “A House Of Our Own,” and “Once.” “World” and “Once” are a little more understated, but exhibit powerful elements such as guitar solos and pleasurable melodies. With that being said, “A House Of Our Own” is the true album standout for me. It combines all of the best parts of the album in one song. It’s driving, uses the horn section, and remains upbeat with the catchiest melody on the album. It’s reminiscent of old school rock ‘n’ roll, yet has a modern quality that keeps the track fresh and fun. This is the song that I believe would best translate to the stage. The backing harmonies are almost church choir sounding, at times, and the drums are tightly played, yet remain intriguing and unpredictable. The breakdown is strong and a tad bit funky. While “A House Of Our Own” is the true star for me, I truly did enjoy the whole album, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fresh take on a 60’s rock sound, with a lovely little twist.
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Article: Alex Feigin