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  • David Bentley

Promise and the Monster (Sweden) – ‘Chewing Gum’ (title track from EP)

Promise and the Monster is Billie Lindahl, from Stockholm, who has been signed to the label Icons Creating Evil Art since last year. Or at least was 'PatM', as she has now been joined by Love Martinsen, whom Billie calls “the invisible other half.”

This is the first time I’ve come across her or the duo but she’s had accolades heaped on her by our peers for some time now.

How best to describe her/them? How about ‘dream pop soundscape painters with Goth overtones’? I reckon that pretty well nails it.

This six-track EP, ‘Chewing Gum’, signals a shift in the direction of more electronic instrumentation but without ignoring her classical background while she describes the EP as “a collection of songs that are dreamy, dark and romantic...and spin little stories from hell.”

The title track is laden with Terminator-like synths right from the off and which justify the often-made comment about her that her work is ‘cinematic’ in quality. It isn’t long though before a more dreamlike quality emerges, and one that is influenced by a sort of goth-lite effect.

I find it rather easy to compare her with Bonander and Memoria, the former on the same label, the latter on another; all three of them conspiring to seduce you with swoony, hypnotic, melodic electronic music of both digital and analog design, with the merest hint of menace in both the melody and the vocals, and which wouldn’t be out of place in, say ‘The Witches of Eastwick’. There must be something in the drowning ponds in Sweden.

The other tracks on the EP broadly follow a similar pattern in their construction but are mostly ‘heavier’ and rock-like in nature and lack the strong melody of ‘Chewing Gum’, except on the first track, ‘Beating Heart’, where she does a convincing interpretation of Kate Bush. How many times have we said that, I wonder, but it’s true?

There’s considerable variety in her choice of subject matter with the fourth track, ‘One Summer’, chronicling the tale of a travelling circus that was the subject of a 1950s Swedish movie called ‘Sawdust and Tinsel’ which they watched while writing the song.

Chewing Gum‘ is available via Icons Creating Evil Art and can be had as a 12" bubble gum-pink vinyl record!

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