Björn Olsson

Björn Olsson

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

This solo album by Soundtrack of Our Lives guitarist Björn Olsson (his third) is much more pastoral-sounding than what you might expect. The clear blue sky on the album cover is an indication, although what to make of the crustaceans is anybody's guess. This is by no means a sea-born record; on the contrary, the moods it conveys are earthbound: endless fields of grass, the quietness of the mountainside, and evenings at home by the campfire. All acoustic, it allies the engrossing naïveté of Swedish folk melodies with the atmospheres found in Ennio Morricone's spaghetti Western soundtracks. "Tjörn" represents a peak in that regard: Olsson's whistling is definitely inspired by Sergio Leone's universe, but the melody itself couldn't be anything else than Scandinavian. The instrumentation includes acoustic guitar, piano, organ, oboe, and humming. Some tunes are a bit too sweet and at first you may be tempted to dismiss the album as something ironic, but the melodies grow on you like mold and soon you find yourself won over, however reluctantly. Highlights include the aforementioned "Tjörn," the oboe-led "Smögen," the Western-esque "Munspelslåt" (with harmonica, s'il-vous-plaît), and "Instrumental." Throughout, Olsson's guitar playing remains fittingly sober and dreamy. The whole thing is strongly reminiscent of Sagor & Swing's own take on the pastoral Scandinavian folk ethos. The 11th track, "Mellanspel," has a significantly muddier sound. Mixed through a tape recorder, it introduces ten bonus tracks, the ten previous pieces mixed the same way, allegedly to give the music a warmer feel. It's a case of "love it or hate it," but it hardly matters: The first iteration of the album boasts excellent sound and enough charm to sustain pretty much anything afterwards.

blue highlight denotes track pick