Loney, Dear Sologne

After four years of self-releasing his music within the relatively small region of Jönköping, Sweden, Emil Svanängen struck gold earlier this year when Sub Pop released his 2005 album Loney, Noir. But Svanängen still has three other albums floating in limbo and thanks to the Rebel Group label, his most recent recording, 2006’s Sologne, finds a new life. There’s an immediate sense that Loney, Dear isn’t the sort of artist determined to develop past sublime orch pop, which makes Sologne a rather similar record to its predecessor. But hey, when you have exquisite chops and arrangements, and tender lyrical charisma, why change? The fact that most of these songs were recorded in his parents’ basement or at student housing only shows what this gifted musician can do in limited space. Enclosed surroundings certainly suit his introverted, introspective tunes, as Svanängen conveys his personal prose in the same manner as known recluse Nick Drake. "I Love You (In With the Arms)” uses patented Drake finger-picking and a hushed environment to encapsulate Loney, Dear’s true character. That said, "The City, the Airport” sounds like a party, breaking the shy guy mould to bring us a roomful of backing chants amongst the bashed tambourines and bleeding acoustic guitar, and "I Lose It All” cranks up a distorted electric for some doom-y post-rock closure. Sologne may not have the instant pull of Loney, Noir but it’s more fleshed out and goes to show that Loney, Dear has a lot of sublime orch pop to offer us. (The Rebel Group)