I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today
Record Label: Mute
Release Date: April 19, 2011
The geographically incorrect I’m From Barcelona are actually an indie-pop collective from Sweden that features a staggering twenty-plus members (the actual number seems to vary with the source, though I imagine that’s because it’s changed over time). Though many members contribute just backing vocals, the band typically does make use of a wide array of arrangement choices as well. Forever Today is their third release, following Let Me Introduce My Friends (2006) and Who Killed Harry Houdini (2008)
How Is It?
With the plethora of self-serious artists today, it’s difficult to find an album quite as unilaterally happy as Forever Today. It’s been an unseasonably cool spring for those of us in the Northeast, but this will be one record worth breaking out to soundtrack the days when the sun emerges from behind the threatening gray clouds, flowers begin to bloom, and chirping birds take to the skies. It forges a middle ground that should be appealing to those who find a band like The Boy Least Likely To a bit too cutesy and Broken Social Scene (or perhaps even I’m From Barcelona’s own Who Killed Harry Houdini) too weighty.
Despite the band’s mob of members, Forever Today has a pleasantly uncluttered sound. Their trademark eclecticism is offered in measured doses, which allows their unique orchestrations to accent the almost impossibly snappy melodies rather than crowd them out. Lead vocalist Emanuel Lundgren’s lyrics are accordingly on the light side, offering up candy-coated messages about “stay[ing] true to your heart” over horns and handclaps on “Can See Miles”, and waxing celabratory about “shooting stars, firework and neon lights” accompanied by twinkling piano on “Battleships”.
Even when Lundgren’s words are touch less than completely cheery—on “Always Spring”, he sings, “I want to be up, I want to be down, I need a new direction,” suggesting a sense of unsettled angst—the sprightly keys convey a perpetual sense of hope. Likewise, on “Dr. Landy”, he sounds almost ruminative—“I’ve got trouble in my head, I just want to stay in bed”—but the buoyant bells and brass are like a shining silver lining. With tunes this infectious and an overarching aura of well-being, Forever Today is a favorite to be the feel-good album of the spring.