from Malmö, Sweden
With perfect pop-harmonies and indie-easy-listening production!!!
Emerald Park are an indie-pop outfit from Malmo, Sweden. For Tomorrow, their second album, is full of bright, catchy songs and refreshingly free of artifice. The album doesn’t come with a built-in gimmick or a breathless press release proclaiming the band’s indie credibility. Instead, the band simply delivers 45-plus minutes of well-written, likable songs.
A short intro opens the album before the first true song, “ The Commonfield”, gets going. Martina Johansson sings the first verse before giving way to Tobias Borelius, and the two trade off throughout the song. Johansson’s airy, pretty voice contrasts nicely with Borelius’s deeper, slightly nasal delivery. This singing all floats on top of a gentle acoustic guitar-and-keyboard groove. “Ume” is more upbeat, with a pair of clean electric guitars and a nice bassline accompanying strong vocal melodies from both singers. Subtle bongos add more motion to the chorus. “A Higher Loss” is a big chunk of power-pop that recalls the New Pornographers, but manages to hold back a bit, and the huge, in-your-face, instantly catchy chorus never arrives. Instead, the song climaxes at the end, after the vocals have faded and the volume on the guitars increases.
The rest of the album continues in this vein. Emerald Park use their singers to great effect, and the interplay between Johansson and Borelius never feels forced. They also expand on their basic instrumentation very successfully. “Värnhem”, named after a neighborhood in Malmo, incorporates whistling, violin, and simple piano, into a soft, wistful travelogue anchored by the line “Let me off at the next stop”. “Istanbul” is driven by a powerful bassline and loud, urgent vocals from Borelius (I think—it’s possible the band has a second male singer), but also from a pair of pounding timbalé drums. Later on, the dance-beat and ‘80s-synth styled “Pasadena” seems like a possible misstep. Despite the catchy, earnestly sung chorus “Pasadena, where are you gonna go?”, the song feels flat. It may be that the dance beat was a poor choice for this band. Or it may be that Johansson takes full vocal duties on the song and that her breathy voice works best in contrast to Borelius’s, and not on its own.
For Tomorrow recovers after “Pasadena”, though, and ends with a pair of strong tracks. “Lights of Sunday” has a quick opening acoustic guitar riff that sounds tailor-made for some corporation’s slightly dreamy TV commercial. But Borelius’s urgent chorus gives the song a lot of power and may be the album’s emotional high point: “He’s tired of himself / I don’t think sleep will help / You’re weary and you sleep / ‘cause you’re tired of yourself / When you’re sorry for yourself / You push your friends away / And when you push your friends away / You feel sorry for yourself”. The six-and-a-half-minute title track closes out the album, sounding at first like a continuation of the opening “The Commonfield”, but going off in its own direction with its wistful refrain of “I’ll save it for another day / I’ll save it for tomorrow”. Low, pulsing synths, high piano, and a whiff of strings keep the band’s penchant for subtle, clever use of expanded instrumentation intact on this final track.
For Tomorrow is a well-crafted album that doesn’t break any new ground. But Emerald Park consistently show a knack for getting the most out of simple ideas and pop song structures, and their hard work pays off with a strong collection of good tunes.
The music business is sometimes quite confusing - confusing for all those ambitious musicians, who struggle for support, but even more confusing for the numerous trend detectors, who are send bustling through the clubs by the major labels. But sometimes everything is nice and simple like the pop literature of the day after tomorrow: an innovative internet label meets sweden’s best sound export since ‘Shout Out Louds’ in the world wide web. Country boundaries are meaningless in the 21. century and the world will listen to new songs, which it shouldn’t have missed by all means.
It’s been 4 years since Emerald Park’s debut album ‘Sadness Within’, but its successor immediately leaves the impression that the 525,600 minutes have been used very wisely. “For Tomorrow” sparkles from the speakers in one nice flow and one catchy tune follows the next like beaded (pop) pearls on string. Songs like “the commonfield” or “pasadena” combine the best of Arcade Fire, Sunwheel and The Cure. The rest of the album reveals influences from bands such as Stars, Belle & Sebastian, Death Cab for Cutie, New Order or Pulp.
The first single “A Higher Loss”, already raised the bar in June. The full time album however, produced by Moonbabies multi instrumentalist Ola Frick, easily jumps that bar with audible confidence.
The small circle of insiders, who listened to the pre-released single of Emerald Park’s second album, has been on tenterhooks for months. But the delight will be none the less for those who didn’t anticipated such a great release: such depths combined with playful airiness will be quite a treat even in the ears of the most established indie pop treasure hunters The before mentioned insider is rightfully patting itself on the back: only one can be the first to find a treasure and sometimes one gets lucky
The 12 new songs on “For Tomorrow” will not only open the ears and hearts of inclined listeners, but will also increase Emerald Park’s audience immensely.
And for those mediocre indie bands from the US or the UK the music scene in the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula is still an annoyance. They spent years in the studio just to see another band from Sweden ruling the world.
It’s been 4 years since Emerald Park's debut album Sadness Within, but with that amount of time spent on the new record you know it may be something worth while. A nice flow of catchy tune sparkles on this album of pop rock tunes. The indie sound is what is mostly intriguing about this group. The Commonfield and Pasadena combine sound from bands like Arcade Fire, The Cure (older stuff) mixed with sound from bands like Death Cab for Cutie and sometimes that new wave feel of New Order. The first single released from the album A Higher Loss, already is catching an audience. The album was produced by Moonbabies multi instrumentalist Ola Frick, for an easy listening experience. The female vocals in The Commonfield add the ambience and creativity to the mix of the songs giving it more of an indie feel. The bands mixture of the two vocals intertwined create a delicate landscape for the indie scene. Lights of Sunday has the be the most standout track on the album as it glees with acoustic rock passion and solid production for the mainstream. This is a track you can hear in a movie scene or credits. The ambient constant drums hits in the background make the chills run down your spine on this track. The depths combined with the atmospheric airiness will be quite a treat to first time listeners. It's the old new wave sound intigrated with the new modern indie rock music on the album that really is a fresh approach. The female voclas placed perfectly within the male vocals that are a plus on the almost slow dance-like beats based on influences from the classic bands. This new album full of 12 new songs should open up a whole new audience to this band immensely. Give this album a shot as its easy listening will capture you with the first of many listens. Tom Spinelli, melodic.net
‘A Higher Loss’ serves as the harbinger for the upcoming second album of another promising band from Sweden: EMERALD PARK, founded in 2001 in Malmö, have released their debut album ‘Sadness Within’ in 2004, followed by the single ‘My Star’ and played quite some live shows as openers for bands such as Maria Mc Kee, Luna, Clem Snide etc.
If you listen to the title track for the first time, then you’ll instantly hear a difference. Other than many other well-known representatives from that country, they use not electronic elements in ‘A Higher Loss’. Influences of Post Punk, Indie Rock and a few other styles are merged to a melodically-rocking and fresh mixture, carried by charismatic male and female vocals, giving the whole thing an additional distinction. The second track ‘Ambivalence’ is another story you’ll find electronics in abundance there. Melodic riffs, fragmented vocal samples and a slow electronic beat make this a more experimental piece of music.
You should keep an eye on this band and look out for the upcoming album due for a release in autumn as something big is coming from over there again.
01. A Higher Loss – 4:43 02. Ambivalence – 2:00
Rating Music: 9 Sound: 9 Extras: - Total: 9
Written by Sebastian Huhn, Reflecitons of Darkness
catchy tune sparkles
on this album of
pop rock tunes!"
From twee-indie to dizzy shoegazed guitar outbursts.
The indie sound is what is mostly intriguing about this group.