(I’m too lazy to write this in Swedish too, so… yeah anyways, pretty much everyone understands English anyway soooo without any further ado…)
Kaleo’s debut album “A/B” arrived in the mail today! I’ve been following this Icelandic indie rock band for a couple of months now and it felt natural to pre-order their album after listening to their fantastic songs. I’m listening to the album at the moment, I’ll write a little about the songs below.
The album package is made of paper (I thought it would be a plastic hard case – but paper is better for the environment I suppose 🙂 ) and the only colors are black and white. Except for the photo taken over Iceland covered in snow. But that one is pretty black and white as well. A very thin booklet is included with a photo of the four members of Kaleo on the cover and information about who made the songs on the inside. The back simply tells us the members’ names. And the CD? A black and white zoomed in picture of one of their hand prints, seen on the cover.
After listening to the whole album, I noticed one thing. When looking at the cover, you understand quite quickly that “A/B” is divided in two parts – A and B. The A part seems to be much more rock ‘n’ roll while the B part seems to be much more soft. I’m not really a rock ‘n’ roll girl, but boy – if I hear these songs live, I’ll defenitely feel alive. They are maded to be played on stage, and it feels a bit sad that they’re stuck on this CD… if you understand what I mean? No matter, I’m pretty sure I’ll still play them with my mp3-player to get that kick-ass feel you get from some certain songs.
Ok, the A/B album contains these ten songs:
This quick-paced rock song is something I think everyone will like. It’s great! It’s fun! The beginning is interesting and you can’t wait to hear the rest. The tamburine in the background keep you on pin and needles… and then the drums comes. And the heavy bass. My favourite part would have to be the ending really, how everything kind of slows down with those heavy guitars before JJ Julius son (the singer) gives you that last rock ‘n’ roll scream – and then it’s over you can’t wait for the next song.
Way down we go
I love “Way down we go”. It was the first song I heard by Kaleo and I think it’ll always be a favourite. But… I wished it had been placed last on the A part of the album (that is, after “Hoot blood”). After such an energetic start with “No good”, it feels… I dunno, misplaced? “Way down we go” is a heavy, a bit dark song and quite slow. After “No good”, I’d prefer another energetic song, but that might just be me.
Ok, to the song. Here’s another great song which makes you think you’ve had a though day and stomp your feet into a thick layer of new snow with the rythm of the drums. You’re going down with someone you love. They’re gonna get you and there’s nothing you can do about it. … Ok, I might not be so good at telling how good the song is, so just go and listen to it on Spotify, YouTube, iTunes or something and you’ll understand.
Here’s another heavy song. However, it feels warmer and it’s more swingingly (is that a word?). But if you listen to the lyrics, you can tell it’s not a happy song, even though the music could (with some imagination, if you don’t think about the tamburine sounding like chains) suggest so. “The devil’s gonna make me a free man”, “Ain’t no place to call a home”, “I saw my chance so I got him at last/I took his six shooter, put two in his chest”. I guess you might say this is a blues song? Like, an old blues song. Like a worker’s song.
I’m no expert so don’t shoot me.
Another quick song again! This isn’t a personal favourite, but like I wrote above, if I were to experience this song live, I might go crazy. Especially at the “ba-pa-la-ra-ra-da-da-ta-ta” part, hehe. xD The sweet guitar solo is great too. And Kaleo’s got me at the “c’mon baby, don’t say maybe” part – ok, I’ll rock with you. Too bad it’s at the last seconds of the song.
The last song of the A part. And… we’ll, I’m not really a rock girl like I said. So it might take a few turns to really like this one. The chorus girls in the background were a surprise though – I thought Julius son were going to be the only one singing in this album. But, hm… it ends quite abruptly and I feel like I haven’t really heard it. Was it too sprawling to my ears?
All the pretty girls
“All the pretty girls” is another favourite. A soft and sweet song which makes me think of summertime and long, Scandinavian summer nights. It’s like all the instruments are in harmony and I can’t help but feeling sorry for the poor guy who can’t seem to get the girls’ attention. And when he lower his tone… boy, Julius son got me. I’m done. That voice is lovely.
This sounds like a sweet summer song too and as if there were no troubles in the world at all. This song is something one could put on for a long drive in the States – it sounds a bit american to me (not country, but… yeah, still country?), it sounds carefree and… let’s go all the way to Mexico like you say.
Vor í Vaglaskógi
Even if all the songs are sung in English, this one in Icelandic doesn’t sound misplaced at all. As a Swede, one might think I understand what they’re singing about… but I don’t. Except for “glittrar” (that something “glitters”). But if I read the Icelandic lyrics I understand a few words – but I gotta keep an English translation next to me to be completely sure I don’t think I actually know the words. And for once, I envy my friend for knowing a bit Icelandic (which she studied on her own as hobby when we were in high school). This sounds mysterious but still beautiful! The guitar somehow gives it a magical feeling, and a bit sad feeling too. If you want to know what they’re singing about, click here to go to their YouTube video with an English translation as subtitles.
I was getting used to Icelandic, and it my brain thought it a bit confusing to go back to English when I first heard it. 😛 I listen to not only songs sung in English, so it didn’t feel wrong to hear a song in Icelandic. But this song, “Save yourself”, have the same sweet, high singing tunes as “All the pretty girls” at times and the music remind me of that one and also “Way down we go”. This song… is something I’d like to hear late at night. And it’s another sweet song I’d love to hear many more times in the future.
I can’t go on without you
Ohh myyyy, if I died in “All the pretty girls” when Kaleo’s singer lowered his voice, I die once more when those whistles come. This is such a beautiful song, a tender song with those careful guitar notes- as if it doesn’t want to break you at first, as if you’re something fragile. And then it grows… with drums… and strings… and it gets bigger and bam! You’re in love with it. And boy, the way he sings “I can’t go on without you” and “We don’t want them” makes ones heart melt. At least mine. Because that’s a gorgeous voice he’s been gifted with. And let me say one thing before this long review ends: “A/B” couldn’t end in a better way than with those careful whistles.
More album reviews:
Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon