Slim Loris' "Love and Fear"

By Mandi Kimes

Slim Loris, an indie rock quartet from Stockholm, released Love and Fear. The band, comprised of Mattias Cederstram (vocals, bass), Robert Barrefelt (guitars), Leon Lindstrom (vocals, guitars) and Jonas Ellenburg (drums), recorded and mixed the album with Pecka Hammarstadt (Olga Studios) and mastered with Jonas Ekstrom (Mastertone).

Slim Loris is a band with many influences, and it shows in their songs. Combining modern pop, 60s British Invasion, and folk moods, they have been climbing the popularity ladder since its 2011 debut. They even performed at Liverpool's legendary Cavern Club during their UK tour in 2014.

"Never Danced Sober" begins with a vibe similar to "Stairway to Heaven". The harmonies resembles those you would hear on a CSNY or The Eagles record. The mandolin is the star of this track as it shines through the instrumentation. "Sparkling Sun" possesses the same drumming pattern you'd hear from Ringo Starr and the same ballsy rock you'd hear from Fleetwood Mac. This song could easily be a B-side to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as it tells the psychedelic story of a sparkling sun, while the guitars weave in and out of tonality.

"Going Home" returns back to the folk side of the band while banjo and steel guitar are introduced, before reggae-influenced are brought into the mix. The tune resembles a Jason Mraz-esque vibe, especially at 2:19 when the harmonies match those on the Mraz track "5/6" with its same chord structure and pulsated "ooh-oh-oh!" The song moves seamlessly into "Violet Haze," and it's almost as if all the instrumentation and harmonies had been bumped up to level eleven as each member showed off their talents with an intensity that I couldn't help but love.

"Better Than I" begins with three finger-picking acoustic guitars and a vulnerable voice. The chorus pleads: "Keep me close at heart // I'll leave, but never go far // Days will fly, you'll see // I'll be home sooner than you think // No words are needed to be spoken // You know me better than I know myself." It makes me wonder if this is the song their significant others play on repeat while they are on the road touring.

"Down" is quite possibly the most experimental track on the record. It's like Arcade Fire entered the studio at this point and began producing the song, adding their notes on dissonant piano melodies and dynamic risks in the chorus. It's easily my favorite song on the album. The instrumental breakdown is intense and power-driven and it makes me want to go run in a race or defeat evil or train for that big fight. It's definitely a song to listen to while amping up for excitement. Again, inspired by Arcade Fire, "World" begins with a hushed vocal and a distant guitar. The song shifts into a different tempo and takes you down a melancholy river of luscious melody, before it drops you down the waterfall back into the verse.

"A House of Our Own" introduces brass instruments and a subtle ska feel to the album (where do all these influences come from?) The harmonies in the chorus resemble The Beach Boys' wall of sound before splashing back into brass interludes. "Once" ends the album with the most ambient and post-rock song as it sweeps between lush guitar tones and background drum beats. Instrumentation-wise, it's like S. Carey, before the song explodes at 2:39 and becomes a hard jam.

Generally speaking, this album covers a lot of ground as far as musical genres go. Give it a listen and see if it tickles your fancy - I can say wholeheartedly I enjoyed this album.

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