Summer Heart - About A Feeling
Record Label: Sommarhjärta / Nomethod Records
Release Date: April 25, 2012
It's safe to say I don't know anything about you. My time on this website over the past 35 years, at the very least, has taught me that. So it's also fair to say that my late September praising of a lo-fi/chillwave/electronica project like Sweden's Summer Heart could go either way. It could be moot, simply due to the fact that nobody wants to listen to a band with the name "summer" in the title right now. Or you may see that these sorts of aqueous, meandering, smooth-riffing tunes are actually more at home during the wind-down months than the party-down months. David Alexander, the brain behind these overtly cerebral sounds, doesn't exactly make music for a time or place, which is in stark contrast to his peers that tell us we're not living right if we're not doing this perfect thing at this perfect moment. About A Feeling, then, becomes an appropriate title, if only because this is music that transforms itself for us, instead of asking us to change for it. It's mood music, regardless of mood.
And instant standout, "I Wanna Go," is just one of those songs. A moderately-timed tune, it layers an almost march-like drumbeat behind vocals and guitars so blurry, they nearly disappear as soon as you hear them. It's like a musical representation of fog clearing on a cold morning. With lyrics like, "I had nothing to lose / And I nothing to do / But I was thinking about you," (I think those are the lyrics, at least), Alexander creates lazy music with a purpose. His indifference and paralysis is almost endearing, and you can almost see him penning this track lying face down, only looking up from the mattress to introduce another pleasing electro-melody into the mix. This sort of here-and-nowhere soundscape is Alexander's happy place, ranging from the 80's loving on ballad-ish "I Wanted You To Stay On The Other (Side)" to the very now and very Swedish "A Million Times." Even though the range of this music is fairly miniscule, Alexander takes us from the dreamy lows to the Balearic highs in a tightly edited eight tracks.
What you really find on albums like About A Feeling are lessons in subtlety. It's very easy to either make the record everyone else has made, or just make a record filled with only one song. Small things, like the static-y synths of opener "Rusty Scars" and hip hop grime of closer "Say Goodbye" make for a record filed to the brim with detail. Alexander is clearly a student of pace, too. Slower, denser tracks like "When Worlds Collide" fit perfectly next to club tunes. And even within a song like "When Worlds Collide," the slowness never becomes too daunting, as pop drums and breakdowns cut through to make a heavy song pretty damn lean.
As I said, this record delving deep into my brain, both in terms of catchiness and complexity, doesn't mean anything. About A Feeling is, however, one of those few records I go out on a limb with, and recommend to real-life friends. It just seems like something you can jam to, hold hands to, make memories to, et al. Earlier I said to a friend, "How can anyone not like this?" Then I quickly corrected myself, saying, "Well, obviously someone could not like this." But now I think my first statement was more true. Fans of music are good about finding jams anywhere they can. So the easy thing about Summer Heart is: he only makes jams.
Recommended If You Like: Air France, More Amor, Balam Acab, Blue Hawaii