The music of Sweden's Second Oracle is like something from a dream. Or a nightmare (in spots, at least). The players here conjure up something mythic and mystical, and it's something that pre-dates rock-and-roll entirely. The band's debut album, Second Oracle, drops on Lazy Octopus Records tomorrow and it's easily one of this week's most stunning releases.
Opener "The Oracle Speaks" begins things with the otherworldly vocals of the group taking center-stage, and that brief cut segues directly into the stately "Of The Fall Of The Swift Ships", an epic-length organ workout that's equal parts "No Quarter" and something from a classic British folk-rock record. The music whipped up here by these four musicians -- Josefina Pukitis, Karin Enqvist, Lisa Isaksson. and Rebecka Rolfart -- is otherworldly and nearly impossible to adequately describe. "Akta Min Aura" feels a tiny bit like Nineties-era Dead Can Dance, as do parts of "Seabird's Lament", but that's still not a great description, and the longer, more elegant "New Child, New Prophecy" chugs past on the back of an insistent flute-figure, and a nearly catchy melodic hook. The long closer "Caravan of Hope" is similarly inscrutable, flashes of stuff as dissimilar as early Doors and Current 93 zipping by.
Second Oracle by Second Oracle is haunting, and it's also the sort of thing that's easy to love if it speaks to you as it did me. I can't quite pin down why I found this so affecting, but there's something primal here that suggests a real pureness of purpose that I appreciated in this modern era.
[Photo: Uncredited picture from the Second Oracle FB page]