- David Bentley
Vivii – Summer of 99 (single)
I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing Vivii’s recordings several times though I’m still smarting from walking into their Reeperbahn Festival show two years ago just as they walked off stage. My watch was still on UK time. Doh.
The Gothenburg born but now Stockholm based trio is made up of husband and wife Emil and Caroline Jonsson and their enigmatic work partner Anders Eckeborn, who shuns the limelight but is responsible for generating most of the odd sounds that appear on their songs, as well as acting as producer. And there’s a really odd one on this track, as you will see.
They released their first and eponymous album in March 2019, following the earlier EP ‘Savant’ which established them and I was instantly impressed by their consistently high standard of melodic dream-pop. And any vocalist who can remind me of Alela Diane in her Headless Heroes incarnation, as Caroline Jonsson does, is always going to win me over.
They’ve made quite a name for themselves since, with millions of streams and an extensive U.S. tour last autumn.
Now they return to the studio with the first single from their follow-up album which is scheduled for a spring 2021 release. I don’t know if they deliberately set out to confuse us with their song titles but the first track of theirs that I reviewed was called ‘Suckerpunch’ and was released at the same time as Sigrid’s effort of the same title.
This time it is ‘Summer of 99’ which inevitably invites comparisons with the classic, immortal ‘Summer of ‘69’ by Bryan Adams. It’s a different kind of song; a ballad, possibly about a surprise pregnancy if I read the obscure lyrics correctly, played out to a gently picked acoustic guitar and with Emil taking the lead until Caroline arrives from heaven with her gorgeous backing vocals supporting a beautiful soft synth passage.
Then something quite remarkable happens at the 2:25 mark. Someone tries to start up a tractor or a JCB, but just can’t get the bloody thing going through half a dozen attempts that last the remainder of the song. Eventually it splutters out and expires, and is probably towed away to the scrap yard.
I don’t know what they were thinking of with this interlude, it’s bizarre but fortunately it doesn’t do enough to spoil an otherwise lovely closing instrumental section with Caroline’s angelic vocal overlaid.
Malfunctioning industrial vehicles apart, basing my opinion solely on this track, the forthcoming album, which will be released, like this single, on the Dumont Dumont label, should project Vivii to another level.
The single was released today 26th August.