NEW SUMMER SERIES: This summer, my two awesome interns Kendall and Jess will be doing weekly features on the blog! Kendall will be doing a weekly music feature with album reviews, mixtapes, and even musician interviews! I'm really excited she is on board for a music feature because I myself need some new music inspiration for the summer. So, here is Kendall's first feature! Say hello to Kendall everyone!
The fact that I even know Simian Ghost exists is a total by-product of happenstance. I spent a weekend in Stockholm, Sweden, earlier this year and when my friends and I went to a posh bar whose astronomical drink prices threatened to scare us away, we remained solely for the promise of live music. Simian Ghost was the delivery of that promise. The Swedish three-piece took the stage and were bathed in soft pastel-colored lights and blended in with projections of vintage film reels that showed 1960s couples water skiing and sitting on picnic blankets and riding bicycles in the summertime. I was instantly lovestruck.
Simian Ghost began as the solo project of Swedish musician Sebastian Arnström, but after the release of his successful debut album in 2010, Arnström enlisted his younger brother Erik Klinga and high school friend Mathias Zachricsson to collaborate with him and join the band. In 2011, Simian Ghost released a seven-song EP entitled Lovelorn on independent UK label Hit or Heist Records, which was met with praise from music critics and whose lead single "Free Agent" premiered on Pitchfork and was later bestowed Track of the Day honors. The band is currently in the midst of a UK tour in support of their full-length album Youth, which was released in March of this year.
Unsurprisingly, the sound of Youth is very youthful, both light and quietly exuberant simultaneously. The album's dreamy soundscape is punctuated by understated lyrics and gentle, near-ethereal vocal harmonies that conjure sun-drenched images of endless summer. The interplay between the guitar fingerpicking and electronic sounds is seamlessly subtle, and can't be described as anything other than shimmering: it's like if the sun reflecting off the surface of a body of water could make a sound, this is the sound it would make. I adore the album's title track, with its perfect combination of sugary-sweet vocals and deep blippy beats, and I smile with each refrain of "I feel myself drifting off with you," the culmination of the song's impressionistic narrative of first love. Maybe it's due to those projections of water skiing at their live show, but my brain makes strong associations between this album and water: it's such a sonically fluid album, smooth as water with ripple-esque flourishes, and when I picture the perfect listening environment for it, I see myself perched at the bow of a boat that glides easily across ocean waves as the sun begins to dip low toward the horizon. Youth has officially joined the ranks of my favorite albums released in 2012 thus far, and will likely dominate the soundtrack to my Seattle summer.