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Swedish band The Amazing came to the WERS studio fully loaded with an arsenal of instruments and pedals. With two guitars, one 12-string guitar, bass, and drums, it looked like things were about to get loud. The band delivered the noise, but not in the way one would expect. Bands with this many layers of noise typically can’t help but have an abrasive sound. The Amazing, however, manages to create a quaint and spacious atmosphere with a hint of psychedelia that not many bands are able to.
The band started the set with the song “Gone” from their latest album Gentle Stream. An impenetrable layer and crisp guitar riffs was laid over jazzy drums and collectives “Oos” and “Ahhs”, giving the song a sense of consistent momentum without feeling rushed. The gentle, unobtrusive vocal melodies sat in the middle of the mix and gave plenty of room for the instruments to fill up their share of sonic space. Listeners tuning in mid mix could have understandably mistaken the tight performance as a studio recording, proving the bands proficiency and consistency.
After all, the musicians have experience playing in bands, with two members being long time members of the acclaimed Swedish act Dungen. The Amazing, as front man Christoff Gunrup adamantly insisted, “has nothing to do with Dungen, I knew them and we just started playing, as friends, drinking, and just making songs.”
The next song the band played was “Fog” another from their latest album. The song, like many of The Amazing’s songs, takes the typically stripped down, skeletal songs styling of artists like Nick Drake and Belle and Sebastian and adds the flesh, the skin, organs (pun intended) and even a heavy winter coat. The performance held true to Gunrap’s claim that the band is more “more secure in playing together as a band.” This “security” shows, for there needs to be a certain level of chemistry between musicians to play in as tightly as The Amazing.
The band closed the set with the title track from Gentle Stream, and the song felt like just that, the musical manifestation of a gentle stream, an ecosystem all its own. With the 12-string guitar glistening like the sun reflecting on the water and the snappy drums crashing like the water hitting the rocks, the band, with their music, created a vivid sense of place and atmosphere. The song was a bit on the longer side but never meandered and every moment contributed a fresh idea, making the song engaging and even suspenseful. A jam towards the end of the song gave each member the opportunity to demonstrate their impressive musical prowess rather than exercise their typically deliberate, subtle playing. On the song writing process, Gunrap jokingly says “its mine, its all mine.” And while the songs may be written solely by Gunrap, no one man can create the kind of noise The Amazing managed to create.