The Virtues

Ruminate

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This Swedish band's website has no trouble boasting of the group's simple and whimsical origins, a quick, fun tale that mirrors the lighthearted playfulness of the quartet's guitar and harmony-driven mix of modern and classic rock textures. They're basically four friends who had four new songs and four days of rehearsal, recording, producing, mixing, and drinking. They went on tour in Sweden and Amsterdam and got a record deal. There are some fascinating mood swings going on here, as the group -- led by vocalist/guitarist Per Bergkvist, who modulates from low to falsetto effortlessly -- goes high-energy on the jangly "New Year's Resolution" and the snappy, rhythm guitar-driven "Untitled" before going all mystical and languid on the reflective "Crackleware." There's also an attractive balance between folksy acoustic-based numbers like "Wrongdoer" and raucous '60s-influenced love-ins like "'Bout to Be Told." The most fun, however, is had on the jumpy, Beatles-tinged distorted guitar extravaganza "Matchday."

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