SKOGEN - 'Här slutar enslig väg' EP
Our 'To Do' list is bursting with some great Nordic Post Rock bands, inspired by our 'Teller' review, but we'll change the feel of things somewhat by writing about a Swedish band who write an interesting brand of folk- pop. SKOGEN are from the beautiful looking Uppsala (we mentioned it recently as 'Rain on Monday' is based there) and their new debut EP is entitled 'Här slutar enslig väg', which roughly translates to 'Here Ends a Lonely Road'.
This EP pretty much instantly appealed to me, so it's safe to say that the tracks are easy listening, full of comfy melodies, and it's all backed up with instrumentation that feels really musical, with lovely subtle glimpses of tunes that make the songs perfect to listen to whilst you're wrapping Christmas gifts, as I discovered.
SKOGEN open with 'Old Red Fox' and it's a slow stately waltz, with a military style drum beat, but a lovely sweeping tune sits above the track accompanied by the deep vocals, and by the time the harmonised melodies are added I'd have been sedately dancing around the room if it wasn't for the fact it was strewn with valuable gifts. 'Polar Queen' switches to female vocals, and after a couple of discordant piano chords it cleverly slips into a lovely piano theme, and it is this piano which carries the track through, interspersed with some intricate clever guitar contributions. But actually it's the melody which stands out, building to a climax before the piano theme is replayed. I do like the way SKOGEN construct their songs, and the little changes in tempo and dynamics throughout.
'Karavan' has an 'Of Monsters And Men' hint about it, and is sung in Swedish, and actually I like the fact that we get both English and Swedish tracks in the EP - not many bands take this approach, and it doesn't throw me in the slightest when it is done like this. 'Dans med siluetter' is led by acoustic guitar, and the melody sounds quite traditional for this genre, and it has an easy going lilting feel. The EP finishes with another waltz, and again it's at a stately pace, which gives it a thoughtful and contemplative feel.
To me this feels like 'classic' folk pop, with melodies which will make you smile, and I envisage SKOGEN playing live with huge smiles on their own faces too - although they do have a thoughtful side to their songs too. I've been reminded that we're here to give opinions, and there probably isn't a huge amount of 'depth' to the music, if you're looking for 'genre-breaking' originality or musical complexity on a vast scale you probably won't find it here, but there's nothing wrong with music to be enjoyed and appreciated - especially when the songs are well written as they are in 'Här slutar enslig väg'.