The new record from Kristoffer Bolander, What Never Was Will Always Be, out on Friday via Tapete Records, is a supple and lyrical release. A refinement of the art-pop found on 2015's debut from the Swedish singer, I Forgive Nothing, this new Kristoffer Bolander album is affecting indie-pop that skirts the edges of greatness in spots.
"To Come Back" and "Animals" suggest the music of The National and Bon Iver, among many others, and it's clear here on this newest release that Kristoffer Bolander is seeking a wider audience. However, there appears no indication anywhere here that he's compromised his vision as cuts like "Untraceable" and "Cities" reveal sleek electronic-pop of the very finest order, Bolander's voice blending nicely with the keyboard textures that anchor the tunes. Elsewhere, the mournful and methodically-paced "Unborn" downplays Bolander's prodigious skills as a vocalist in order to let the rhythmic texture underpinning the track impart the real emotional heft here, and there's the real secret of why What Never Was Will Always Be is so good. It's not that Kristoffer Bolander has tried to diminish the effect of his wildly-expressive voice, but that he's found a way here on this record to use that voice as one more instrument in these finely-arranged and expertly-produced songs.
What Never Was Will Always Be is a superbly-realized release, and one that uses Kristoffer Bolander's voice to great effect, even as it places it within a certain alt-rock context. So much of what's here works precisely because there's a nice balance at work here between the extraordinary gifts of the singer and the assembly of the instrumental pieces behind him.
What Never Was Will Always Be by Kristoffer Bolander will be out on Friday via Tapete Records.
[Photo: Kristoffer Hedberg]