What came first, Executive Swede or the music? I can see this album, The Swells, being played in an executive suite while you're waiting for your young(er) boss to approve your new business proposal to expand coffee outlets, and I can see this being played in Sweden, or at the very least by Swedes. Did they shape their music after their name or create their music after naming themselves?And here’s a little bit of trivia, a swede is also, after some loose research, apparently a rutabaga in other parts of the world.
Cool, creative chaos going on here, with even measures of improvisation and predetermination. This Portland four-piece focus their talents, and they are men of many, into making instrumental jazz-rock. Sounds simple, right? But the music is anything but. No track sounds like another. Drums ebb in and out of rhythm, sometimes providing the foundation for an entire song, sometimes appearing to tease the listener with soft chopstick clacks and nothing more. Guitars achieve cohesion through discord, with one laying out a groovy riff, and the other seeking to overturn it. Sublime bass (whoever the bassist is is aces). The signatures are all over the place and in general great attention is given to experimentation, with the results leading listeners to a blissful but inspiring audio experience. There's even an accordion in one of the songs and it doesn't feel out of place at all.
The album isn't perfect, which is great, because then I'd listen to it all the time and never expand my taste. Though I'd have perfection in my ears so I'd be all right with that. Or would I? The music, and get me a tissue for my snobbery, will not appeal to casual musical listeners; each track is unique but the music does meld into one large sound. That wave analogy earlier? Think of the album as a tidal wave of jazzy, sometimes surfy music, and you can either embrace the inevitable or head for higher ground.
If you're one of those people who absolutely needs a musical reference to decide if you want to check out a band, these guys remind me a lot a lot of Tortoise, early Do Make Say Think (without all the moodiness and the thinly veiled thought of suicide) and I feel Nujabes, rest his soul, could pretty much pick samples from this album at will.
Divide and Conquer is dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We review a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
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