Hall Music - POLYVINYL
FILTER Grade: 73%
By Kyle Lemmon on October 11, 2011
Indie-pop mope Emil Svanangen is probably quite charming at a dinner party, but his albums resemble bullet trains headed straight towards individualized pits of despair. There were a few short respites along the way for melodic joy, especially on 2009’s Dear John. Those older full-lengths had some locomotion behind their depressive tropes. Hall Music is a decidedly different affair. Whereas older tracks had a thrum and subtle blush, these ruminative, ambient dirges call to mind dust floating down on church pews as light filters through a stained-glass window. Synthetic, orchestral bells and drunken keyboard slather over every inch of “Name” and a beautiful vibraphone solo on “Calm Down” can’t excuse lackluster lyrics. The three-song suite that starts with the orchestral horns of “Durmoll” ends the album well as Svanangen coos plenty about sentiment and hearts, but most of the tracks on his sixth effort lack a strong melodic pulse.