Mount Song is the new project of Swedish singer-songwriter Jacob Johansson, who is now trading the conventional folk charm of Det Stora Monstret for a self-deprecating indie folk rock style that reveals just as much sadness as it does humour.
Johansson is already proving himself quite the poet, a very expressive one at that. This is almost instantly made clear by distressing opening track ‘Halo’, with its mystifying one-liner “I looked up, my halo’s gone”. But it’s not just self-aware dread that the songwriter generates beautifully, but also an aloof quirkiness to his lyrics, most notably on ‘Guitar on Fire’, which sees Johansson plead to not have his guitar set ablaze, and then asks for the same not to be done to his baby – whether that means child or significant other is up for interpretation.
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Johansson does a stunning job at channelling his varying emotions into his music and his vocal performances. Sometimes spaced out and aggressive like on ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Nothing’, other times flamboyantly John Lennon-esque like on ‘All Over the World’, which is one of the most melodically lovely songs on the album, nice chords in the chorus too.
Some of the songs that see Johansson write and perform in much simpler ways aren’t anywhere near as impressive, which is a shame, but these moments are far too few to get in the way of an otherwise solid album. Whether it be the “we’ve heard it before” style of ‘My Friend’, or the less unique duet vocals of ‘Here it Goes’, there are definitely a few songs that aren’t particularly appetising.
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Any fans of Johansson’s previous work are sure to feel he’s knocked it out of the park this time around. Somehow managing to balance his own personal quirkiness with misery, he’s put something very real together, making the Mount Song project an enticing endeavour. There are a few drier spots, but if this is going to leave people wanting more then so be it, because if this album is going to be improved on, we’ve got a lot to look forward to in the future.
‘Mount Song’ is out now via Suncave Recordings