Calling your band The Amazing is a pretty ballsy move, but this Swedish four-piece live up to the self-hype. Their second album is only six songs and clocks in at a slim 26 minutes – truth be told, it’s more EP than album – but each of those precious few minutes is something to revel in. The music is best described as psychedelic folk, heavily influenced by Nick Drake; albeit played at rock-friendly volumes. Perhaps the most achingly beautiful moment on an album filled with them is “And It Looks Like Today,” a duet between lead singer Christoffer Gunrup and guest-vocalist Linnea Isaksson. Elsewhere, the band takes off with a sun-baked jam during “Islands” that showcases their considerable instrumental prowess (guitarist Reine Fiske and drummer Johan Holmegard also play in Dungen), and toss in a little Neil Young on “Head Beaches.” The Amazing aren’t trying to be hip scenesters; they’re just trying to make the most affecting music they can, which is refreshing.
Gentle Stream is an apt title for this mellow Swedish group’s second album. I’d call Gentle Stream, and The Amazing’s other work, neo-psychedelic folk with jammy interludes (the band includes a few members of the similarly-minded Dungen). Sounds like dodgy hippie crap, right? Yet The Amazing avoid that dead-end by applying shoegaze atmospheres to their songs, whiting-out any potential Grateful Dead-isms inherent in that kind of music. The album’s second song, “Flashlight,” sounds like an early iteration of The Verve covering a song from Nick Drake’s Bryter Later. In fact, the ghost of Nick Drake hangs heavy over the entire album, especially in the soft, waifish, voice of singer Christoffer Gunrup. “International Hair” has a Belle and Sebastian feel to it, though that’s not far off from the Nick Drake template either. The Amazing turn up the volume without losing anything on the “Down By The River”-ish title track. Each of the album’s eight songs are effortless slabs of pure music that transport you to an earlier, more innocent, time, while still sounding current. Excellent stuff.
|1. Gentle Stream|
|3. International Hair|
|4. The Fog|
|8. When the Colours Change|