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Slim Loris - Future Echoes and Past Replays

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Slim Loris is a Swedish pop/rock band that also sounds like it wants to be a roots rock act at times. A song like "Fear of Flying," for instance, has a strong pop groove colored by bright keyboard, unique percussion and driving drums. However, vocalist Mattias Cederstam still sounds a little down-in-the-mouth, despite the party-like music, just like a woebegone bluegrass crier.

"Head on the Floor" is altogether different, however, in that while it is banjo-driven, it nevertheless rolls to a slight reggae beat. That's one unlikely sonic combination, but it works. In a few instances throughout this full-length, there are strong piano parts, particularly on "While I Breathe" and "In Silence."

The closest thing to more modern sounding rock & roll happens on "Visions of Tomorrow." This impression is mainly due to the constant rock electric guitar that fills in the grooves throughout.

This project's prettiest track is one titled "I Will Forget." It features a lovely, lilting acoustic piano part. It also nicely works in violin. It's the sort of song that would fit really well at the end of a romantic movie.

Vocalist Cederstam sure sounds like he's in serious pain a lot of the time. While it makes him come off passionate, it can also limit his range of emotions. He seems nearly incapable of sounding happy, for instance. Even though a song like "Clean as a Whistle" features an upbeat, acoustic-strummed neo-Celtic groove, Cederstam nevertheless comes off like a Gloomy Gus, appearing depressed while everybody else is singing "Happy Birthday" at the party.

Nevertheless, Slim Loris is a talented band with a wide range of stylistic skills, and this is a solid album, comprised of strong songs. As for Cederstam's vocal limitations, guys like Neil Young and Leonard Cohen have made careers out of singing unhappily for many years, so it can be done successfully.

Sweden is a fascinating region, and one that regularly produces high grade pop music. Slim Loris appears to be yet another fantastic act to call Stockholm home. Although many of these song lyrics are a little on the vague side, it's nevertheless fairly easy for attentive listeners to pick up on the gist of them.

You may not feel as happy as a lark after listening to Future Echoes and Past Replays, but you will feel as though you've just been fed a substantial musical meal. Think of it as being akin to stocking up on food from the health food store, instead of hitting McDonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. Slim Loris may not give you aural comfort food, but you will almost certainly walk away thinking you got all the nutrients you need.

Slim Loris draws heavily upon country and folk roots, but it's mainly the older, sadder variety of that storied genre, and not so much the newer, party hearty contemporary country stuff. Perhaps Cederstam should listen to a little current American country music. Not that he wants to imitate it; but just so it puts a rare smile on his face. A little happier listening may just lead to a touch happier Slim Loris music. It's worth a try, right? Even so, though, all this musical emotional pain is our gain whether we take it all in willingly, or not.

Slim Loris - Future Echoes and Past Replays
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