Staffan Sandell - 'Sightings from an Air Balloon' EP
As I mentioned in another feature, I've spent way too much time visiting hospitals recently (note, I'm not a Hospital Inspector), and inevitably it has slightly changed my perspective on everything that's going on around me. I have too wondered why I continue to plough on with this website, grabbing 30 minutes at 6.30am, writing late at night, and being constantly hounded by PR companies who, after all, seem to make a living out of us bloggers writing for the love of what we do. But then as I drove back to the hospital 2 nights ago I listened to a track which was so simple, but so lovely, and everything made sense again. I clearly needed to look at life from a hot air balloon.
Swedish musician Staffan Sandall is in his EP 'Sightings from an Air Balloon' has made a touching collection of tracks, which have made me think and made me smile. In comparison to many highly polished releases we get sent it is probably not without some flaws, but I don't really care, because the reality is that in just one song, 'Sightings from an Air Balloon' he creates such a lovely vision, and I just wanted to share it with everybody.
So 'Sightings from an Air Balloon' is the title track from the EP, and the premise is very simple that as you go up in to the sky, you perceive everything very differently. It opens with keyboards and vocals, and a simple but infectious vocal melody, and the song has a whimsical quality to it that I like. As the track develops more instruments are added, and the lyrics are just so well thought through - ''there is a downside of going up, you feel like Gulliver in the land of Lilliput''. You can listen to it here:
The EP continues with 'Out on the Lake', with some musical arrangements that remind me of the Divine Comedy, and another track with great lyrics entitled 'Amateur Poet', which has a lovely 60's influenced tune in the chorus. 'Pale Green Light' takes longer to get to know, but it still has a lovely melody that carries the track along, and I love the little musical touches such as the piano part at the end of the track - there's a lot of detail to listen out for.
OK, so I mentioned some possible flaws, and with a musical career behind him as a drummer, the vocals are warm and endearing rather than being of operatic quality, and some of the tracks appear to have quite a complex song structure that takes a bit of listening. But I've been reminded so many times in the last week that we should write about music that connects to us as listeners, and this is Staffan Sandell's strength - personal tracks that say something real, with nice melodies, thoughtful lyrics and attractive instrumentation. I really hope that you get the same level of enjoyment from them as I have.