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The Swedish indie folk band The Amazing have successfully avoided a sophomore slump with the release of their newest album Gentle Stream. Frontmen Reine Fiske and Gustav Ejstes have teamed up to create an album that would make Neil Young and Crazy Horse envious. While they might be formally known as an indie band, it’s hard to place the group on any specific part of the spectrum.
Their use of counter point, led by ethereal guitar leads and saxophone rhythms result in a sound that can best be described as a new age folk group. The vocal based harmonies that are quite prominent throughout the album immediately conjure comparisons to Fleet Foxes. Ejstes’ voice remains cool, yet commanding on each track. The horns and guitar, led by Fiske and his bandmates, strive to create an elaborate melodic structure led by Ejstes’ calm and almost monotonous vocals.
Opening with their title track, “Gentle Stream” is honest. The psychedelic rhythms and dancing snare drum beat is unpolished, yet doesn’t try to hide it. For a folk song, the overpowering chart sets the precedent for the rest of the album. On “Flashlight”, the band reverts to a relaxed, almost Nordic sound. With wooden flutes playing in symbiotic unison under Ejstes’ voice, the baritone saxophone can be heard, serving as a refreshing alternative to the bass. It’s clear that the band doesn’t strive to blend in with their sound. The tracks are raw, yet inviting. Their experimentation with sound is by no means an attempt to alienate the listener.
“International Hair” serves as the upbeat chart that immediately brings associations to your standard Belle and Sebastian track. “The Fog” reverts to the harp heavy sounds that emulate medieval music groups of the past, and segues into an intense guitar led instrumental. “Gone” only exemplifies the fact that this is an album that can only grow on the ears. Tracks like “Dogs” and “When The Colours Change” standout because of their relaxed aesthetic that relies on the drums and 70s-esque reverbed guitar notes to compliment Ejstes.
An excellent second album, The Amazing have proven that they aren’t a fluke. Their success in the studio has grabbed the attention of neo-psychedelic band Tame Impala, who asked The Amazing to tour with them. The organic, yet alluring sound of the group is an element that will ensure the clamor of dedicated fans in the upcoming future.