There was something sad for me about the wonderful new album from Sweden's Last Days of April. The aura of sadness was the realization that I hadn't heard of this band until very recently. Which means that in addition to Sea of Clouds, out now, there's a whole lot of other stuff to dive into.
You see, Sea of Clouds is so damn good that I feel the need to hear everything this band has done but first let's talk about the new record.
Opener "The Artist" unfurls like the best stuff from Teenage Fanclub as they delved further into the back-pages of Neil Young and The Byrds while "Oh Well" uses an understated melody and a slide guitar to quietly affect a listener.
"The Thunder and the Storm" recalls the best songs from the Pernice Brothers while the title cut on Sea of Clouds is positively one of the most beautiful things I've heard in ages. One thinks of disparate influences like Harry Nilsson and Nick Drake here even as Karl Larsson personalizes those sort of inspirations into something wholly his own.
By the time we get to the end of the record, we've got "Someone for Everyone" with its bright, upbeat melody and the quiet closer of "Get You" with its mandolin and spirited tunefulness.
Sea of Clouds by Last Days of April is one of the gems of this season of music. Charming, understated, wildly catchy, and expertly written and played, this record is as good as the best albums from Teenage Fanclub and the Pernice Brothers. Fans of both of those acts will love this one as much as I did.