Loney, Dear Loney, Noir

Loney, Dear Loney, Noir
Photo: Peter Beste
According to societal values, leaving the nest is a crucial step in becoming an adult. Yet if every kid was forced to move out of ma and pa’s house there’s a good chance Loney, Noir would never have been made. Swedish songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and lo-fi recording wonder Emil Svanängen recorded this modest little masterpiece in his parents’ basement after he was forced out of his student apartment. Based in Stockholm, Svanängen’s Loney, Dear (only recently did he bring in others to form a proper group) has been at this for years now, having self-released three albums prior to Loney, Noir. His fourth album, though, is where his luck is about to change. Operating under an ethos that features some of the most irrepressibly saccharine vocals, Svanängen’s voice is docile and endearing. When he coos his tender words you’ll glow with warmth at just how friendly it feels. And when he gently rollicks on "I Am John,” his falsetto soars so high that you know somewhere Barry Gibb is talking to an attorney. The acoustic guitar and mini-orchestral arrangements are all accented with remarkable precision and the thought that this is a basement recording is dumbfounding. Sweden continues to grow as the epicentre for the best new music, and Loney, Dear is pulling all of the heartstrings.

I read you used a lamp as a mic stand. How did you get the album to sound so substantial with such a bare bones set-up? The most important thing was the amount of time — that I could have a year to make a record. There wasn’t any pressure, which is going to change now, unfortunately. I really could do it the way I wanted to and get used to my equipment and how it was working.

Was it you who chose to release Loney, Noir over your other records? Sub Pop chose it, and I think it was because they wanted to release one that hadn’t been released anywhere else in the world. I also think it’s the best album of the four.

Will we get a chance to hear the other music you’ve recorded? I hope they’ll end up releasing the record I’m working on, which is called Dear, John. And I’ve been doing some recovery work on the first and second albums so I can finally quit burning CDs. I’m really looking forward to that day when I have all the records in boxes made in a factory and I just pick them up and send them away. My computer is tired. (Sub Pop)