Sound: Marking their third album; "Future Echoes And Past Replays" presents a maturing and a whetting of the fine sword that is Slim Loris' distinct sound. From the first song, "Fear Of Flying," you can tell EXACTLY the sound that they're going for; Mumford and Sons... with balls. Generally, I would write this off as imitation, but it is catchy, upbeat and has a confidence within itself. Mattias Cederstam's vocal and organ parts are perfectly complimented by Robert Barrefelt's guitar counterpoint, creating a harmonious chorus that will stay in your head all day.
This song proves to be an excellent introduction to an album that provides an delectable combination of American folk, indie rock and small additions of Nordic folk elements. It serves as only a taste of things to come.
The album proceeds to be a very catchy, variable piece of work that is rarely boring. "Domestic" immediately throws you left of field with a western-sounding piece which with its pentatonic embellishments and accompanying female countermelodies, creates a fascinating mental image of a couple discussing their relationship's dissolution while in a saloon breaking bottles over each other's heads.
But then it happens; "While I Breathe," the ballad. Every album needs them, and sadly, this is where it loses points; it suddenly becomes methodical. There is no hook to this at all; it feels stagnant and contrived. The chord progression is typical and the melody is nothing special. Should this deter you? Not at all! The following songs are still catchy and fun to listen to. "In Silence" scream Beatles right out at you, but once again, it's a cross-Mumford and Sons/Beatles jam that you just can't help but listen to.
While the second half isn't as memorable as the first (another reason for deducting a point), a notable mention to "Clean As A Whistle," which should definitely be made a single. A chorus that has you immediately singing with it after the first impression is a hard task indeed, and its almost Biffy Clyro/Weezer-like quality to it gives it an almost innocent boppy nature. An enticing, fresh sound from this duo from Stockholm. Based on the sound alone, I would recommend it as a perfect summer album. // 7
Lyrics: The lyrics aren't deep. The lyrics won't have you scratching your head, searching through a dictionary. But simply put; Cederstam's lyrics suit the music. "Domestic"'s "You used to laugh at all my jokes, and you never turned me down when I got close/your new dress code is comfortable, you're never late to point out faults I make" COULD be seen as amateur on face value, but when the female counter of "You used to bring me flowers for no reason, we used to talk for hours without end..." occurs, you suddenly realise that this piece is done in conversation, rather than tacky writing.
The lyrics are contextual to the music; they're catchy, they're simple and they're easy to repeat after first listen to the song. Cederstam's melodies have the right combination of hook as well as a "hey, I wouldn't have done it that way... But it's cool and I like it" kind of feel to them. The background chanting - possibly something in Swedish - in "Head On The Floor" has a strangely dichotomous jolly, however melancholy feel to them, which keeps on adding to the interest of this truly unique band.
I will concede to finding fault simply in the fact that Cederstam doesn't exert much of a range or heavy use of embellishment. But that can hardly really matter; his range suits and his occasional gruff inflections do exist, however subtle they may be, and musically - especially in a style such as this - they're meant to be subtle. // 9
Overall Impression: I like this album. I like it a lot. However, it's one of those albums that you find yourself liking it because you have nothing to hate about it. This is hardly a bad thing; it just means that the enjoyment creeps up on you and even if you wouldn't imagine yourself liking it, you might end up that way. So this album functions as a great piece of work while treading on a razor's edge; it's fun, it's catchy, it's doesn't fall into any annoying territory and it isn't repetitive.
My initial description of Mumford and Sons, but with more balls - more gusto, more confidence, and less inhibition, comes from their marriage of the American folk influence with their Swedish heritage. This band is like walking into a grocery store as soon as they open, grabbing a whole lettuce and eating it on the spot; it's nothing new, but the originality doesn't matter; it's a matter of how fresh it all is. This album is contextual to what's seen as cool music, but it goes one step further as well, it presents to you things that you haven't heard before in this situation. This album is good. It's pretty damn good.