04 June 2011

Van der Saar - swedish sheets (Death Benefits, 2007)

Van der Saar is a duo from Edinburgh, UK and when you hear this album, the collaborative process is probably very intricate and roles much less defined and confused.

Electric guitar and voice are the two main ingredients and Van der Saar's music sounds like a tribute to early nineties U.S. indie rock scene: from Sonic Youth to Yo La Tengo, from Sebadoh to Pavement, from Dinosaur Jr to For Carnation.

The electric guitar is particularly under heavy influences (these typical distortions) and I can only feel nostalgia while listening to this record. Hopefully there is another element in their music that make it valuable, a kind of sadness, melancholy and despair not so far from what contemporary bands as Channing Cope or Shere were trying to do.

Their debut release, "Swedish sheets" has got a lo-fi sound and plenty of distorted guitar sounds. The songs are usually and honestly quite nice but they don't really bring something new to the style and suffer from a poor sound quality : as a conclusion, they are not out of ordinary and have got still some work to do to better define their production.

But there are big hopes, very big hopes: the two last tracks of this album, which are also the longest ones, seem to belong to another batch of songs, almost to another band, with much more subtlety, complexity and depth. Here, they really find their direction, they have and share with us this little something, this "à fleur de peau" feeling, that make their songwriting precious and our breath slower and deeper.

"Mazelton Lanes" and "I am a wing machine" are two wonderful five minutes slow songs, built between melancholy and tension, with a sense of escape and despair at the same time. There are the ten only minutes of this album I'll keep because they transport me somewhere else, in a strange state, like between two doors, with vertigo and gravity.

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