Friday, April 2, 2010

NEW FAVORITE BAND (NOT FROM L.A.) - SAMBASSADEUR



Well, its been a rough month at work but one band that has actually been helping me through the stress is Sambassadeur. Although they're not from glitzy L.A., I've been obsessed with this band for the last month – even going as far as tracking down all their EPs and LPs. Well, I'm gonna start something different. Starting today, I'll feature a band, not from L.A. that I really like and have been listening to a lot. Hopefully this will be a monthly feature. There's just too many good bands out there not to write about.



Anyways, one band certainly getting lots of playing time on my iPod is the Swedish-pop band Sambassadeur. Sweden, which gave us the sounds of ABBA, Ace of Base, The Sounds, Peter Bjorn and John and The Cardigans now gives us Sambassadeur who just released their third full-length album, European, in February.

Filled with sweeping arrangements and wind-swept vocals, Sambassadeur's latest album is a much more mature album that their pervious LP and EP releases. The group which consists of Anna Persson, Daniel Permbo, Joachim Läckberg and Daniel Tolergård formed in 2003 in small apartment in Skövde. Their first songs they wrote were all recorded at home which gave the production a primitive quality that labled them by some as being a lo-fi-twee act.



Their earlier tracks like "Kate, "New Moon," & "Between the Lines," were a combination of addictive blends of simple pop melodies and infectious beats. Just like any new band starting out, their songs were like a baby deer finding her legs. Seems awkward at first but there's something cute and fun watching as each new discovery begins an exciting journey. Their next album, "Migration" was more polished, celebrating a full arsenal of lifting tunes like "The Park," "Subtle Changes" and "Final Say."

Their first two LPs are rich in saturated instrumentals, often times with horns and strings, but are balanced by Persson's romanticized vocals. One would think that this overproduction would be overkill but Sambassadeur has proven that they can hold the reigns in on their big sound.



Now, with the release of "European," Sambassadeur seems to have grown from fun and happy and has given us a much more delicate and mature album. Confidence would be the key word for this album as Persson's dream-like & surreal vocals are accompanied by ghostly-pop ballads in "Stranded," "Forward Is All" and "Albatross." Most noticeable in this album are the swelling string section, clarinet and horn section. Although they've managed to keep their infectious pop-sounds on this album, there is more of a classical, orchestrated feel to 'European.' Listen to the much more polished pop songs like "Days," "I Can Try," and "Sandy Dunes" and you'll be reminded why you fell in love with this band from the beginning.

As they tour this year in support of their latest album, lets hope they come stateside. Unfortuneatley, their label's website says their guitarist, Läckberg suffers from 'severe flying anxiety.' We'll just have to wait and see.