Sameblod – Swoon EP

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You’re forgiven for thinking Sameblod is misspelled, but it’s actually Swedish for the sami-people bloodline. To give you a brief history lesson; the native sami-people are an ethnic minority that inhabited the northern arctic and sub-arctic regions for at least 5,000 years. Since Mikael Mattison is partly sami, it served as a fitting name for the band.

The pair met while studying music in Skellefteå, a small town in the northern part of Sweden. They shared a mutual taste in music and decided to test their talent as musicians as an afterschool activity. While starting out as mere fun, the band quickly grew a diverse fan base and the project evolved into a serious undertaking by the now Stockholm-based duo. Last year’s impressive and critically acclaimed full-length debut Braided Memos was a joyous journey of carefree vibes, at times resembling a dispersed Delorean and at times evoking Panda Bear’s chant-y vocals, but mostly it was a well-crafted infectious ride of effortless bedroom-style breezy synth-pop.

Less than one year after Braided Memos the duo is back with their most focused collection of songs to date. Gone are the experimental tones set by their debut, and along with that, any reference to the likes of Animal Collective or the aforementioned Spanish counterpart. Across its four tracks Swoon feels less scattered and stylistically more conscious while slightly darker in tone. Musically Swoon is not that far from other Swedish synth-pop acts like Karl X Johan and Jonathan Johansson, but thankfully less squashed into confined pop-aesthetics and radio-ready pledges. Braided Memos was arguably more fun, just as Wild Nothings Gemini or Toro Y Moi’s Causers Of This was more fun than any of their sequels, but in those cases just as here, fun doesn’t equal better. With Swoon it’s getting clear that the duo isn’t content with playing around in their bedroom studio anymore. Instead, the EP is a deliberate attempt to take the next assertive leap into musicianship, and in terms of quality tracks like “Forever” and “Way” deliver the goods to back it up. The cascade of swirling synthesizers, assured drum patterns and Mikael’s well-balanced vocals, marks some of the best indie-synth that has come out of Sweden in recent memory. Hopefully, Swoon will tug Braiden Memos along into more people’s consciousness.

Swoon is out now via Riot Factory records.

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