Permer

Summerdays Attract the Pain

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The first solo album by Permer (also known as Martin Permer, half of the Swedish club/pop duo Waltz for Debbie) is basically a Waltz for Debbie album minus Annika Lundback's dreamy vocals. Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Martin Permer is clearly a fan of the Saint Etienne school of electro-acoustic pop with a knack for combining synthesizers, electronic beats, and acoustic instruments into wistful, largely minor-key melodies topped off with bittersweet, romantic lyrics. If anything, the tunes are more substantial than they had been on Waltz for Debbie's 2001 U.S. debut, Gone and Out, with the cascading title track (here in its original version and a more club-oriented remix by Permer's longtime friend and musical partner, Stefan Sjolund), the Thomas Dolby-like synth pop of "Number Sequences," and the melancholy "Sarah" (one of two songs with lead vocals by Agnes Bylander, whose huskier voice is quite unlike Lundback's) being the particular standouts. A potential drawback is that Permer's vocals, while perfectly serviceable, aren't especially distinctive, which makes the songs a bit less effective than they might have been if Bylander (or even Lundback) had sung the entire album. Still, this is an admirable addition to the Swedish dance-pop canon.

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