An Album by Korallreven

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There must be some hard-to-fathom factor in the DNA of young musicians in Sweden that causes them to make the sunniest, happiest, warmest music you could imagine. Not all of them, of course, and Sweden does have a legendarily dark metal scene, but enough to make you wonder what’s going on. Whether it’s the fresh-faced joy of Acid House Kings, the oddly cheerful melancholy of the Concretes, or the Balearic charms of the Tough Alliance, the music of Sweden is like a giant shot of life restoring goodness. As you may have guessed, Korallreven have all the warmth and inner beauty of the best Swedish pop, creating a sound that falls directly alongside fellow synthy dreamers Air France, jj, the Tough Alliance, and American ringer Panda Bear. Built on washes of synths, pulsating, often tropical beats, and buried-in-reverb vocals, the duo of Marcus Joons and Daniel Tjäder (of the Radio Dept.) don’t do anything all that tricky on An Album by Korallreven. They aren’t too interested in creating new sounds, in fact, most of the keyboards sound like they are still on the factory settings. What they do instead is create a sweeping and sun-kissed sound from these stock parts (and lovely guest vocals on three tracks by former Concrete Victoria Bergsman and looped vocals by Julianna Barwick on another) that’s so infectious and inviting that it doesn’t really matter if you’ve heard it before. The song’s melodies are so strong and the arrangements are so perfectly structured that the album flows like a lazy summer day where time seems to stretch and slow down. Even within this intricate, album-like structure that ebbs and flows, and the wide expanses of near ambience, there are still songs that stand out. “Honey Mine” sounds like a long lost Ace of Base song, riding a fake reggae beat and Bergsman’s sweet vocals, “Loved-Up” adds guitars to the mix and sounds like an ultra-relaxed New Order, and "The Truest Faith" is dancefloor-friendly and super-catchy; they all sound like mixtape champs. Taken as pieces or as a whole, the album is easily the equal of anything their contemporaries have released and an exhilaratingly chilled-out listen from start to finish that will warm up even the longest winter night.

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