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  • David Bentley

SoLBLoMMa – California (single)

One thing that has always attracted me to Stockholm-based SoLBLoMMa, apart from her supreme, inherent quirkiness, is her ability to shape shift musically between her Swedish and English language songs, constantly refining and redefining. I’m not talking about something as dramatic as a Madonna-style reinvention, just ensuring that no two songs ever sound alike.

This is a lady who has done it all in her career, from busking her way around Europe, dabbling in Death Metal, achieving Swedish chart success, working with leading jazz pianists and saxophonists, and scoring a Portuguese TV series while her first album (1997) was described as “epic experimental trip hop”, in which she portrayed a dozen different characters herself, prompting one critic to liken her to a stoned Björk.

While she’s calmed down a bit now she still goes off in different directions as it suits her. Her last single was the sort of Swedish folk song she can write in her sleep. This one returns to the realm of ambient electronica, where I suspect she feels most comfortable, and is in English.

The song seems to suggest that she’s achieved her ambitions and if it is true that she crashed into the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem well, you can’t really top that. She could have started another Middle East war. But, she does still have one ambition. Unlike Anna Calvi’s “one more wish before I die” which is never revealed SoLBLoMMa is quite specific.  She wants to fall in love on a train in California.

It helps if you know a little about her. I think I’m right in saying her daughter is a student in California and that she visits her often. Or at least she was. But SoLBLoMMa is also a railway buff on a galactic scale. Previous songs have included many train references. She’d put Pete Waterman to shame. If Waterman is Tees-side Airport railway station (which hosts one train a week) then SoLBLoMMa is Clapham Junction. The reference to Tehachapi is to an enormous spiralling rail track in California which enables trains to ascend and descend the Tehachapi Mountain pass; a tourist destination in its own right.

Or is that her ambition? For the lyric then simplifies down to just “I want to fall in love”. So the train journey is merely a catalyst for the desire? And haven’t we been here before with Abba’s ‘The day before you came’?

There is also a lyrical section that could have been taken out of the Directors’ cut of Blade Runner, the Rutger Hauer final scene. “I´ve seen hundred horses dancing/On a meadow by the sea/I have seen the world exploding/for a moment I was free”.

You have to be mentally prepared for her quirkiness, but she’s always entertaining.

Find her on Facebook.


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