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The Concretes – The Concretes

There must be something in the water. While the “Swedish Invasion” actually took place more than three years ago, the music from a country already notorious for its beautiful people continues to produce more and more rock darlings. The Hives and Sahara Hotnights were just a taste of what was to really come. The latest import to hit American soil is The Concretes, a communal band of flower children armed with 11 sugary tracks of heartaches and hangovers.


Playing music together since 1995, The Concretes latest self-titled record and first for label Astralwerks is a wonderfully sleepy dance music, inspired by the classic sounds of Motown and powered by bitter sweet voice of Victoria Bergsman. Irresistible comparisons to Hope Sandoval and even Diana Ross are inevitable and very true; but Bergsman’s sticky accent makes her just that much better. Her sounds are drowsy, but not in a depressing sense, and the creepy and enchanting back-up vocals by various members of this large band only make each piece better. The added “oohs” and “aahs” weaving through “Warm Night” are nearly comical, but an assortment of stringed instruments helps to hold it all together.

Songs like “Seems Fine” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” hold tight to the feeling of a mid-career Blur album like Park Life, utilizing fun organ sounds and horn arrangements. Sometimes, I’m not sure if the songs are supposed to induce laughter or a sadness, but either way, they are all part of a satisfying whole. The album listens like a Fats Domino record: effortless, naïve, warm, and pleasant. A rotating cast of players may be The Concretes greatest asset, helping to constantly evolve a sound that has many years ahead of it. What ever it is the Swedes are doing this year, they are doing it right. The American population isn’t getting any prettier, so it looks as though U.S. bands have a lot of catching up to do.


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