Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Greek Theatre - Broken Circle

Swedish duo follow up their acclaimed debut with another stunning LP!

Having done this writing malarkey for quite some years now, there are certain albums that stick in the mind and heart more than others. One personal favourite that came my way has been Lost Out At Sea by The Greek Theatre. It was their debut album, the first of four LPs the band claimed, after which they would cease to exist. It's folksy, west coast soft-rock embellished with woodwind and pedal steel had a sun-drenched sadness and staring-at-the-sea introspection that chimed with me at the time. And still does.

At the time the band stated their next album would have more of a Brit-folk sound, taking its inspiration from the Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Pentangle and the like. That album has now “dropped” as the current parlance goes. I was a little hesitant to play it at first. Who among us has not experienced that disappointment of the “sophomore” album. (Another journalistic pet hate, can't we just say second?!?) I'm pleased to say my fears were unfounded. This time round the sunny west-coast vibe has been replaced with chilly winds and drizzle from the North Atlantic.

Sven Fröberg and Frederick Persson are the core duo that make up The Greek Theatre. Their music is melodically strong but open ended enough for fluid improvisation. For this album they've been assisted several collaborators including pedal steel player Matthias Danielson (who featured on Lost out At Sea), Lisa Isaksson and David Svedmyr from Me and The Kites. Andreas Ralsgård adds clarinet to several tracks and drummer Tomas Eriksson does a sterling job with David Axelrod beats throughout.

Though the Greek Theatre's musical influences hail from the late '60s/early '70s they somehow manage to tap into today's zeitgeist. The music on Broken Circle would not be out of place on the recent Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs curated English Weather compilation on Ace Records. Gentle acoustic passages, interspersed with with improvised rock, all embellished with jazz and folk touches. It's music that reflects the uncertainty of our times. Not pessimistic as such, but resigned to sitting things out until the good times return. As they sing on the album's title track -

Let's go together through the chaos all around. And though the road is rough and rocky rest assured it'll lead us home.”

Click here for more on The Greek Theatre.
Click here for The Greek Theatre on Facebook.
Clickhere for Sugarbush Records.

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