I’ve been waiting a while to review something new from Ida Long, a leading light in the Gavle scene in Sweden that I’ve mentioned previously. Almost two and a half years in fact since her last album, ‘Rainbows and Tears’, had its UK release although she has collaborated during that period with ex- Deer Tracks man David Lehnberg in the duo dÁrc.
Ida is known to me personally, as she is the chanteuse in the ‘arty farty’ dream pop/indietronic band Baron Bane as well, the band which was my entrée into Swedish and Nordic music generally, in 2009. She is in fact half English, her father hailing from Newcastle, and a professional dancer. So I must be as objective as possible. On the other hand, when so many female artists are compared with Kate Bush, you sit up and take notice when the comparison is made by none other than Marta Oliehoek-Samitowska, who wrote ‘Symphony in Blue: Kate Bush and her legacy’ and who added, “What Ida produces is actually very original and you should listen to her and watch her videos with an open mind.”
For my money Long is one of the top female artists in Sweden, right up there with the likes of Zara Larsson and Robyn. Her fragile but hard-hitting indie songs don’t fall into the same category unfortunately so there is no mass market route for her, at least not yet.
I know that her third album has been in production for a while but was held up by a lack of studio time last year and I’m not sure if this track is likely to be on it. ‘All the shit that you do’ is in fact a collaboration with Avra whose background is in the techno and house scene where he is one half of the duo Monotics. Here he brings out a more profound side with deep house that matches Ida Long's unique voice perfectly.
Now I’m going to surprise myself, readers, and probably Ida and her management and possibly put myself in the latter’s bad books. While there is an outlet and market for sultry dark stuff like ‘All the shit that you do’ (ill-lit rooms in Berlin’s infamous Berghain techno nightclub spring to mind), I don’t think this sort of thing tests Ida at all.
I remember Ida not only for her clever lyricism but her subtle half-tunes that leave you wanting more. However, on this semi dance track the lyricism is pared to the bone while the melody barely gets into its stride at all. As I say, perfect for some scenarios but those scenarios are few and far between.
I revisited ‘Rainbows and Tears’ to make some comparisons. Tracks like ‘Take me to the woods,’ ‘Chaperone’, ‘Rivers’ ,‘Woman’ and ‘Wolf’ are in a different league to this. If we allocated a score to single releases this one would get six, possibly seven while all of the above merit nine.
Ida has dabbled with collaborations for some time now. Even before dÁrc there was one with Stockholm-based Mintelligence a few years ago. None of them has been unsuccessful but I feel they may have distracted her from what she does best.
When I reviewed ‘Rainbows and Tears’ I concluded “Ida Long is close to completing her third album…judging from her progression from her 2012 album ’Walk into the Fire’ to ‘Rainbows and Tears’, it will be worth the wait.” Over to you, Ida.