Release Date: Jan 27, 2009
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
Since his debut in 2007, Emil Svanängen (the man behind Loney, Dear) has managed to evade easy categorization. It's simply not enough to say that he sounds like Jens Lekman, seeing how the main draw of Svanängen's work has less to do with his lyrics and more to do with mood. He's more like pop-oriented multi-instrumentalists like Tobias Fröberg and Sufjan Stevens; Loney, Dear is a quirky, bittersweet master of atmosphere.
The poster for Andrew Bird and Loney, Dear’s upcoming Salt Lake City concert (they’re touring the U.S. together this January and February) shows, in a simple but effective design, veins and arteries snaking out from a heart across a map of America. The metaphor of intertwined vessels is sort of apt, for Loney, Dear’s songs wander down unexpected back-alleys, twisting into surprising melodies and exploring the corners of a melancholy/reflective mind.
SWEDE EMOTIONLoney Dear’s new record feels utterly ScandinavianLoney Dear frontman Emil Svanängen has a voice as high and thin as a tightrope. He’s on par with the dude from Band of Horses, and just one octave deeper than the great power-trio frontman Alvin, who—along with his sidemen Simon and Theodore—has long set the benchmark for keening vocal exuberance.SWEDE EMOTIONnecessarily a problem—singers from Craig Finn to Kenny Chesney have done just fine by staying in their respective zones—but it means that, after a while, Loney feels kind of samey. Listening to large quantities of Loney Dear creates a sort of Doppler effect where everything whizzes by in a blur.sound.
Once you realize that Loney, Dear's Emil Svanängen is a former pro-cyclist, it becomes impossible to listen to his sophomore offering, Dear John, without picturing yourself on a bicycle. The franticly paced album opener, "Airport Surroundings," is the soundtrack to an adrenalin-pumped sprint. "Everything Turns to You," with its ominous, pulsating arrangement, is the accompaniment to a tension-filled head-to-head uphill stretch.
Everyone knows that Sweden is a hotbed of rock 'n' roll, but there's more to this quaint Scandinavian country than amped-up guitar riffs. Loney, Dear (aka Emil Svanängen) dabbles in soft acoustics, rollicking drums and indie pop. His last album, Loney, Noir was one of the best releases of 2007. His latest follows in the footsteps of his past efforts.
This is the fifth full-length from Loney Dear of Sweden, real name Emil Svanängen, who claims this to be his best yet. All previous albums have been a journey in reaching this one he tells us and I think I might just agree with him, although a part of me hopes the next will be even better. Loney Dear has produced four albums of wistful, twee, highly-strung musings and, with the fifth, he's lost the comma in his name.
Loney Dear Loney Dear, the one-man studio band of the Swedish songwriter Emil Svanangen, sounds frantically, claustrophobically forlorn on its fifth album, “Dear John” (Polyvinyl). “I am lost like I was the day before,” one song admits. A devotee of elaborate pop from the Beach Boys to a-ha ….
Loney Dear is the musical nom de plume of Emil Svanängen, a prolific young songwriter from Sweden whose homemade CD-Rs garnered enough buzz to attract American indie imprints Sub Pop (who reissued his debut, Loney Noir), and Polyvinyl (Svanängen’s current label patron). With the success of Peter, Bjorn and John and Jens Lekman, it seems that Swedepop has hit its Stateside zenith. Whether Svanängen and Loney Dear confirm the trend’s durability or are the harbingers of an inevitable decline probably depends on which side of the fjord you’re on.