Sweden’s Solander were planning on using the natural world as a platform for their third album, but it was not the natural world that ended up threading its way through the folds of their creation. Instead, it was a loss experienced by the band that shaped these 44 minutes of what can only be described as folk-inspired perfection. For fans of artists such as Bon Iver and Junip, Solander are a duo who have managed to create an album of the sort rarely stumbled upon.
The sound of remorse produced by the folk-pop duo over the ten songs that make up Monochromatic Memories is not a sound to run away from. Rather, it is one that pulls the listener in until they have surrounded themselves with it. The beautiful album is carefully sewn together with the thread of merged instruments and soft vocals. Intricate and delicate, emotion runs throughout, always in the background. But it never becomes too much to bear, as there is a sense of hope that pushes its way through, not allowing the sadness to overwhelm.
The lead single, “All Opportunities”, was released in November last year. After discovering it online, during one of my extended ‘revision’ breaks, I became immediately hooked. The duo’s minimalist approach is mesmerising. Soft percussion beats carry the steady melodies, absorbing the listener in lyrics that speak gently of love and loss: ‘Well I’m holding my breath too long and I, I am about to let you go’. Fredrik Karlsson’s voice adds another distinctive layer to the continued blend of beat and strings. The words sung by both Karlsson and Anja Linna throughout the entire album are always simple, yet clear.
I imagine that I will find this album slowly becoming the backdrop to my life over the next few months. Sitting in my room, or walking around outside, instead of noticing what is going on around me, I will be absorbed in the journey that Monochromatic Memories takes me on.
With a tour set for the US, following an extended European tour set for February, 2014 is looking like it will be a fast moving year for Solander. I am intrigued to watch and see whether this third album takes the Swedish duo along the kind of unforgettable path that it takes their listeners on.By Maisie Kelly