Kleerup

2

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Swedish producer and songwriter Andreas Kleerup mastered the art of making sweetly melancholic dance-pop with his self-titled 2008 debut. The album contained earlier single "With Every Heartbeat," a glorious collaboration with Robyn which reached number one in the U.K. and truly deserves to be remembered as one of the very best pop songs of the 2000s, as well as additional highlights featuring the likes of Marit Bergman and Neneh Cherry, and a few sparkling instrumentals. Since then, Kleerup has released several singles and EPs, scored a musical performance of Swedish Nobel Prize laureate Harry Martinson's science fiction poem Aniara, played less dance-oriented music in the bands Easy October and Me and My Army, and appeared on reality show Så mycket bättre, alongside former Ace of Base singer Jenny Berggren. He's also constantly struggled with mental health issues, including addiction and severe depression, and making music has been completely essential to his recovery, and a source of continued hope. His long-awaited second album more or less does what his first one did, just with a different set of collaborators and a few more tracks with Kleerup's own rugged vocals. While it's hard for anyone to top earlier victories "With Every Heartbeat" and "3 AM," 2 is still a highly enjoyable set of memorable, melody-rich tunes which burst with emotion. On first listen, the immediate standout is "U R," a classic piece of Euro-disco drama with a galloping beat and desperate vocals by Rebecca Facey, as well as a dreamy string breakdown. "I Don't Mind" (with Yumi Zouma) is much more reserved, but still shimmers and pulses beneath its calmly sung lyrics about loving someone despite everything wrong they've done. Psychedelic dream pop songs such as "Gotta Be You" and "I Need Love" (with Rebecca & Fiona) have hazy midtempo drums and swirling guitars, and these tracks best demonstrate how far Kleerup has come as a producer. Likewise, the album's instrumentals are wonderful, including the suspenseful interlude "Arlanda" and especially the vibrant, arpeggio-heavy "TRU," which recalls peak Jean-Michel Jarre. The album closes with the acoustic loner-folk of "Say Ten," stripping everything down to the somber feeling at the base of Kleerup's music.

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