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  The Olive Shoots  
  Dufflecoat Records  
Release Date:


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This is the product of Joachim Sällström, from the musical hotbed of Gothenburg in Sweden. The promo i received name checked Cocteau Twins, so i had to check it out. There are four songs here.

Heaven is on the Fire starts off with high-pitched keyboards and drum machine, then a female voice warbles over top. The whole thing is kind of treble-heavy in a Dominant Legs sort of way, but i like the warbling synth bass deep in the mix. The added "the" in the title kind of makes me cringe each time she sings it, but i guess that English is not the first language here... It's an okay tune overall.

The second tune, Gynaecology, is reminiscent of Medicine. The female voice is way up front, but she is backed by a flat old-school drum machine and a warbling synth bass. The guitar and synths and bass are nicely layered -- Sällström really has the Guthrie layering thing down, and it’s a pretty good tune. However, i end up thinking "How much longer is this going to continue?" At 6:27, it's just a little too long. So it's good, but a bit too much. Editing is a virtue. Just saying.

Psyche starts off big with a booming drum machine and tinkling keys that remind me of an upbeat 1980s band in neon clothing. Then the voice comes in, Sällström himself this time. He has more of an accent than either of the female singers he used. I know he is Swedish, but for some reason i am reminded of My Latest Novel or Olympic Swimmers, which is pretty weird because both of those bands are Scottish. Are Swedish and Scottish accents similar? I have never noticed that before, but something here strikes me as the same. Anyway, he plays an acoustic guitar here, plunking along happily under a rolling bass riff and some nice drumming. The song reminds me of the early work of The Ocean Blue. This is almost like a lo-fi demo of something that almost made it onto Cerulean. And then, in the last third or so, the keyboards step up their plinking, the drum machine really saunters, and it sounds like Thompson Twins. Nicely done.

Finally the EP ends with Anteros. A synth bass rumbles like in a mid-1980s power ballad. Keyboards tinkle in front of this bass, but the guitar warble that Sällström uses here reminds me of Blue Bell Knoll. Vocalist Lili Holenyi, who also sang Heaven is on the Fire is back, and she really soars.

Overall i want to say that i like the ideas that Mr. Sällström has and like the direction he is going in, but he is not there yet. Still, for a debut, there is some interesting stuff going on here.

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