The Concretes - In Colour
Stockholm-based nine-piece rockers The Concretes have jumped on the genre-bending band wagon, and have mastered it, blending the lines between folk, indie, rock, and at times, cheesy ‘70s pop-duets. If you can get past that sentence, bravo. Sound weird? Probably because they are, but the Concretes’ music backs it up, even if it’s pretty weird too.
First and foremost The Concretes out-folk folk music. They’re bouncy, calming, playful, bittersweet, good-natured, and country-esque. "Grey Days" is a good example, with a quick-paced acoustic guitar backing vocalist Victoria Bergsman’s serene voice. The melody hits and a folk-like chorus is in to back Bergsman’s voice, strings are tastefully added, and one almost excepts to hear the subtle jug as well. Despite the playful nature of the songs, the majority of them involve down-trodden lyrics, usually involving failed romances, or lack-there-of. For example, a lyric almost missed in "Chosen One" goes "When it comes to love / It runs me over." The whole song is about the lack of the right person, and how will they ever find them? Not exactly a good theme when you’re instruments are playing a bouncy, lets-square-dance-style rhythm. Bergsman pulls it off though, and it adds a new dynamic to an otherwise one-dimensional band.
Just as they feel they need nine members, The Concretes feel they need nine dimensions as well, because it doesn’t end there. Genres start getting bent in songs like "A Way Of Life" which begins nicely enough with a Baptist-styled organ, which is then overlaid by a guitar solo in the spirit of Eric Clapton. Huh? This is where The Concretes are brilliant, in the songs and riffs where they blend folk and rock, and make it sound like neither.
The Concretes do fall a little however, "Your Call" sounds just like a Sunny and Cher duet, and again the struggling romance card is played, which by this point is getting old. Yet despite odd (and boring) moments like those, The Concretes effectively blend rock and folk in the spirit of The Elected and Band of Horses, yet with a more playful and bittersweet touch.
Scandinavian country music? Why not? As long as you have at least nine members that is.
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