Here Comes the Future

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Here Comes the Future is a succinct, engaging effort that establishes the Honeydrips -- essentially a one-man project centered around Mikael Carlsson -- as proud proponents of the indie pop tradition, in the most classicist sense; inheriting the lineage that originated in 1980s Britain and includes Orange Juice, Felt, the Field Mice, Saint Etienne, Belle & Sebastian, and, more recently, many of Carlsson's fellow Swedes and particularly fellow Gothenburgers like Jens Lekman and Sambassadeur. It may not introduce much in the way of innovation to separate him from his fellows and their forebears -- if the title is to be credited, the future will mostly consist of more of the same -- but that's not necessarily a shortcoming in a genre founded on fidelity to the timeless principles of melody, sweetness, and simple, sturdy, songcraft. Carlsson upholds those precepts diligently enough -- while still imbuing them with enough of his own personality -- that comparisons to the myriad obvious reference points in his music (in the indie pop pantheon and elsewhere) are practically irrelevant, if hardly invalid. Straightforwardly enough, he muses on the time-honored topics of love, loneliness, and existential ambivalence in candid, conversational, yet impressionistic verse, delivered in a slightly shaky baritone and swathed with synths, glockenspiels, and jangly guitars, drum machines, and tambourines, and far-off, barely perceptible background vocals. Though copious amounts of reverb deployed throughout the album give it a consistent, wistfully subdued, comfortably faded feeling, there's a welcome variety of musical approaches on display, from the straight-up jangle of the title track and pure-pop single "I Wouldn't Know What to Do" to the dreamy electronic throb of "Fall from a Height" (whose splendid melody nevertheless takes a backseat to excellently deployed bits of sampled dialogue taken from Annie Hall and Rebel Without a Cause) and the light breakbeat funk of "(Lack Of) Love Will Year Us Apart" (an infectiously breezy duet featuring Hanna Göranson of Cat5, with a rap verse from Carlsson.) The album's second half is somewhat sparser in terms of highlights, but it includes enough moments of understated pop inventiveness -- such as an unexpected samba percussion break in the middle of synth pop crooner "It Was a Sunny Summer Day" -- to keep it enjoyable and absorbing.

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