The new album from Christian Kjellvander, Wild Hxmans, out tomorrow on Tapete, is the sort of record that haunts a listener on first listen. Much like his last release, reviewed by me here, this one offers up high art that remains accessible, and thoroughly affecting.
Opener "Strangers In Northeim" unfurls with the deliberate pace of a cut from the Tindersticks, while the more supple "Curtain Maker" skirts just this side of accessible, Christian's alt-rock succeeding admirably here. If the vaguely Nick Cave-meets-Radiohead-vibe of that selection suggests that Christian Kjellvander is trying to reach a new audience, he can only be applauded as these 7 offerings here on Wild Hxmans still remain wildly adventurous and vast in scope. The superb "The Thing Is" blends bits of Red House Painters with dashes of Crime and The City Solution, Christian's voice the instrument that anchors this heavy music. Elsewhere, the epic "Faux Guernica" nods in the direction of modern Americana pioneers even as it charts a smooth, nearly-symphonic course, the instruments pushing and pulling under Kjellvander's honey-rich voice.
Wild Hxmans seems somehow easier to sink into than previous releases from Christian Kjellvander. And yet, to stress that fact is not to diminish the Art that's being made here. Kjellvander proves, yet again, that serious music doesn't necessarily have to be ponderous as Wild Hxmans is full of resonant material.
Wild Hxmans is out tomorrow via Tapete.
[Photo: Simon Fessler]