Music Reviews

Artist: ESTRANGE (@)
Title: Interim
Format: CD
Label: Life Is Painful Records (@)
Distributor: Infrarot Mailorder
Rated: *****
It took 10 yeas in absence until Marcus Lilja could decide to start a comeback after his first album on the long-time out of business Swedish label October Records. Now he returns on the German label Life Is Painful Records and this release marks the 10th of this label, which also was a long time in hiatus. So with this background the listeners outside may expect a pure Synthpop album, which is so typical and often produced in Sweden. Well, it is Synthpop, but with edges and an organic attitude. Marcus proves his musical talents well by including guitars, piano and harmonica sounds next to the expected synth work in his songs – and he has played all these instruments by himself. I’m pretty astonished by this multi-talented musician, he has also some well thought lyrics to offer. It’s surely not the purest happiness he provides us here, some very depressive pieces obviously dealing with the pain of the loss of a beloved on a funeral ("Consolation Song") or the last seconds of a life ("Smoother" – let’s take another doze of morphine...) are not designed for the faint-hearted. To catch the completely scale this fine album has to offer takes some more rotations until some tracks like "Slide" or "Anything Else" prove their "singing-along-the-lines-attitude. Strange also that none of the tracks seems to start a hunt for some dancefloor compatiblity, with the few exceptions like the opener "Convictions" or "Down Here". With respect to the fact that this album has taken 10 years of getting produced, it seems to me like a review or a confession of some past and personal things which happened in Marcus’ life. This album deserves respect and attention although I’m not sure if the Synthpop fans will accept this mostly sad effort, which tries hard to break with some conventions. For me it’s musically and lyrically one of the finest albums out in 2006!!!

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