Paul Bäcklin 🇸🇪 - ‘Something to Die to’ (Album)
I’ve featured a couple of Paul Bäcklin's tracks on playlists and on other blogs, but never had chance to write a few words about the album he released in September, which was entitled ‘Something to Die to’, and broadly fits somewhere in Indie Pop territory. One day I’ll write about an album with a cheery title.
He’s an interesting artist, with a pretty long career behind him already having been a founder member of the band The Diamond Man Clan, who were signed to Sony, and who has spent the last 3 years studying at Gothenburg University on the prestigious ‘Individual Performance’ programme.
’Something to Die to’ is his 1st solo venture and it sounds like it’s been a cathartic experience writing it, as he explains: “It’s about letting go of everything you’ve been dishonest about. It hurts to burn off that dead wood, but it clears the way for something much more powerful”.
He also suggests that the release is ‘glaringly honest’ and ‘asks a lot of the listener’, although the 2nd point is something I disagree with, because actually Bäcklin is such a natural sounding songwriter that this album is both really accessible and easy to get to like on 1st listen - very different to the goth rock i was writing about yesterday.
Opening with ‘The Highway’, it’s a fluid acoustic track with a melody that will stick in your head, and trippy lyrics that flow easily, whilst pre-album single ‘Amber’ has a storytelling feel, yet the style is unusual with an imposing instrumental backdrop, and demonstrating that his songwriting is not confined to a particular genre. The strength of his vocals are shown clearly in ‘Brother’ (there’s also a good live version he released over Christmas on Spotify), whilst ‘Penguin’ heads off melodically in a direction you won’t quite expect.
‘The Wheel’ is probably the highlight of the rest of the album, gentle paced and with an almost Badly Drawn Boy feel to the instrumentation, but actually all the tracks have that natural warmth that makes the album easy on the ear.
With plentiful tunes, thoughtful and easy to comprehend lyrics, there’s certainly a lot to like about the album. I think it’s fair to say he’s probably not breaking too much new musical ground in the process, and the variety of styles may not suit everyone’s taste, but to me it just sounds like a songwriter doing exactly what he wants. ‘Something to Die to’ seems to be just the start for Paul Bäcklin.