Stay on My Side [Parasol]

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Perhaps because he writes and sings in a language not his own, Starlet's Jonas Färm's songs resonate with an uncommonly direct poignance and honesty -- seemingly lost in the translation from Swedish to English are the irony and cynicism that undermine so much contemporary music. With its spacious, winsome chamber pop sound, Stay on My Side appears ill-fated to suffer endless comparisons to the like-minded and much better-known Belle and Sebastian, but it's the contrasts that are infinitely more interesting -- Färm writes with none of the sly perversity or coy preciousness of B&S' Stuart Murdoch, instead favoring a straightforward yet evocative lyrical approach that explores recurring themes of loneliness and loss in keenly observed detail. His songs are post-mortems for failed relationships, heartbreaking in their palpable sentimentality and sadness.

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