Emil Svanängen has come a long way since his self-produced bedroom debut in 2003, yet he retains the earnest humility of a newcomer. In Hall Music
, his sixth full-length album under the name Loney, Dear, he expands on his carefully cultivated sound, while retaining the deeply personal essence that has gained a devout Loney, Dear fan base. He said in our interview, "I felt I wanted to improve a lot" on previously released work, such Sologne
and Loney, Noir
, and improve he does.
has a more ambitious feel than previous albums, with multiple swelling, symphonic layers of church organ, church bells, trumpets, piano, bass, guitar, strings and vibraphone. The overall effect is stormy, emotional and undeniably spiritual. Many of the songs sound like they come from a heavenly wind tunnel or portal. The tone ranges from mournful, as though at a funeral in "Largo," to practically exultant, in the ascending "Blues."
Loney, Dear has incorporated multiple influences and ideas into a cohesive sound. The influence of modern classical musicians as well as indie serenaders like Bon Iver is apparent, but then there are surprising touches. The high organ in album opener, "Name," evokes a traditional ballad to a Highland beauty. The sentiment behind the soft and serious lyrics, "I want your name/I want your name next to mine," is sure to melt many a young indie heart.
The ethereal harmonies throughout the album allow it to float. On "My Heart," Emil and his girlfriend, Molly, create gorgeous harmonies together as they sing heartfelt lyrics about relationship trials, expectations and insecurities, "No sadness/no disappointment/I want what I asked for."
"Calm Down" is another favorite, with its uplifting lyrics and floating instrumentals. Emil assures the listener, "Slow down/There's nothing after you/Calm down/There's nothing after you." Whether he is soothing his own raging thoughts and uncertain heart, or yours, or a lover's, the feeling of being chased by an invisible force is universally relatable to anyone who is self-critical and always striving for something greater, something better than the status quo.
Check out Loney, Dear's visit to the Baeble Guest Apartment.