Sunday, 5 October 2008

The Lilac Time – Pelle Carlberg (Labrador Records)

Once again, Labrador Records prove themselves to be impeccable pop pickers with this latest release from Pelle Carlberg, engaging Swedish songwriter and sometime leader of eloquent popsters Edson.

On ‘The Lilac Time’, Carlberg wryly inspects his life, spinning tales of everyday glory and frustration, singing in a laconic, twinkle-eyed way, a little like fellow Scandi pop merchant Jens Lekman. Carlberg’s bittersweet lyrics make you smile along with his bemusement, irritation and overall twisted wistfulness: the excitement of exploring the city as a teenager and then getting miserably mugged, being told by a Facebook quiz that his mental age is fifty-one, the dippy, slightly melancholy fun to be had getting together with long lost friends.

Carlberg’s guitar is complemented by elegant instrumentation that gleams charmingly from each song; woodblocks, cowbells, Wurlitzer, whistling, cello, viola, melodica, piano. On the quietly angry ‘Animal Lovers’Carlberg’s voice fits perfectly with a mournful French Horn motif. Club 8’s Karolina Komstedt duets sweetly on the exuberant pop-rush of ‘Nicknames’, which, with its motoring V.U. rhythms, snappy woodblock and swirling Wurlitzer tune, is a sure-fire indie-pop club floor-filler. The lushly groovy ‘1983’ eloquently captures the thrills and spills of teenage boyhood, complete with mid-song talky anecdote bit. ’51,3’ bowls along with ‘no I’m really feeling quite cheerful, honest’ whistling and splendidly fuzzy guitar that summons thoughts of Teenage Fanclub.

‘Fly Me to the Moon’ is an amusing hate-song to Ryanair. Jaunty whistling belies the disgust and frustration leaking from the lyrics. It has an inordinately catchy chorus, the words to which I type in full here so everyone who’s had the miserable misfortune of flying with the ‘airline of shite’, to quote Carlberg, can sing along:
‘I’ll never fly with you again Ryan
Never again I swear
Guess it would kill you to be respectful
Friendly and even care’.

No comments: