Loney Dear Hall Music

Loney Dear Hall Music
Last time the world heard from Emil Svanängen, he was thinking about putting his Loney Dear moniker to bed, but something changed. Apparently when he played a series of concerts in his native Sweden with a chamber orchestra, he had to write new arrangements for old songs that took advantage of all the additional musicians, and that habit has stuck around for album number six. Hall Music is definitely the most accomplished and fullest-sounding Loney Dear album yet. While the orchestra doesn't make a full appearance on every song, when it does something rather magical happens that's not unlike more recent Sigur Rós. At its subtlest, there's a swirling in the background that helps to prop up Svanängen's fragile voice and it is all so successful that it's hard to believe that he hasn't done this sooner. It feels longer than its brief 35-minute running time, but in the best possible way. Inevitably, the tone is typically downbeat and understated, even when the instrumentation contradicts the darkness of the lyrics. And with just a touch of optimism thrown in every now and then, it's very hard not to keep returning to this lovely, lovely album. (Polyvinyl)