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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Pelle Carlberg
In A Nutshell

Rating: 6/10 ?

October 25, 2007
Swedish pop comes in many different shapes and sizes, from angry riffs ala The Hives to the sensitive folkiness of Jens Lekman, with every base in between covered. The latest act to shine on the bright pop heaven of the Northern land of fjärds is Pelle Carlberg, former frontman of Edson. On the album Carlberg's sound is very reminiscent of above-mentioned Jens Lekman, to the point where the overbearing similarities are certainly imitation but certainly not flattering.

In A Nutshell, Carlberg's sophomore solo effort, is wrought with songs filled to the brim with handclaps, finger snaps, and banjoes, audio fare that is just what you would expect from a Swedish folkster. The lyrics follow the formula of Sweden's established geek pop themes; stories about growing up in a middle class home, having your sister move to London (Sweden's fourth biggest city, population wise, not the UK metropolis), and starting a band to live out your rock star fantasies.

Cuts like "Pamplona" and "Middleclass Kid" stand out from the rest of the bunch, tracks that are decidedly of the more bland variety. Carlberg, along with co-musician Henrik Nilsson, reaches for that geeky pop-sensitivity that Lekman, especially under his Rocky Dennis moniker, manages to achieve; unfortunately for Carlberg and Nilsson, they don't really ever find it. Some of the lyrics feel very forced, especially in the song "I Touched You At The Sound Check," a number which tells the story of a brief encounter with Mike Joyce, painting the former Smiths drummer in an unfavorable light as a pathetic man clinging to past fame. Sure it's true, Mike Joyce seem pretty pathetic, but what's the guy done to Carlberg that would prompt him to write a song about it?

With In A Nutshell Pelle Carlberg was obviously looking to deliver a distinct sound, a perfect pop record along the lines of some of his countrymen's more successful works. Try as he might, Carlberg still has a long way to go, but all is not lost - there is evidence of potential for good songs in the future, "Pamplona" and "Middleclass Kid" two cases in point, but it remains to be seen if Carlberg will have the stomach to settle down and forge his own sound.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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