Reviews

Amason | Sky City

by: Carlos Lima Lopez

Amason’s debut album Sky City was not at all what I expected when I heard it on the first run. All it took was their single “Algen” and I was completely hooked to the new Swedish outfit. The track sounded really innocent and had a nice pace with the bassline and drums. I was also so amazed by Amanda Bergman’s voice that I would replay the song over and over again just to listen to it.

Purely on the strength of that single I made the album purchase, wanting to engross myself with the band. I heard “Duvan”, and then I heard “Kelly”, but then I neglected the album for a few months…

What happened? I loved “Algen” and felt this new band was going to be something spectacular. I didn’t want to listen to a band that seemed influenced by The Killers. At that point, I had lost myself in other music and wrestled with the idea of giving Sky City another shot. So I decided to do just that; I gave the album another go and I found myself immersed in it the more I listened.

I understand Sky City now after several proper listens and really appreciate the project for what it is. At the core Amason’s debut album is a celebration of all the styles of music that influence them. A song like “Elefanteen” feels very much at home in any Beatles album with its slow, twilight pace. “NFB” is a very boogie woogie, rockabilly number that could definitely get you dancing, not to mention that the piano solos steal the show. “The Moon as a Kite” reminds me of those Motown hits, and The Supremes or other soul acts like Mary Wells and Gladys and The Pips. “Went to War” is straightforward indie rock but I like the feel and ambiance it gives off. I think it would fit nicely with a breezy autumn evening walk home, only with someone ideal.

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It’s very interesting when I hear an album like this, each song is its own character. Normally, it’s off putting when an album doesn’t sit still as something simple and consistent. Blu’s York comes to mind; that album has wildly frenetic energy and a multi-faceted persona. Now, I see it like an enormously talented child who knows how to draw and given too much sugar, can create this chaotic yet brilliant imagery. You see all these different drawings and sketches in one spot: it seems maddening at first but after a while, you grow to like it because let’s face it, there’s really nothing quite like it.

I see Amason as the band that goes to all these cafes and bars and play one song at each. All of these songs are different within the context of a show, and you would think they wouldn’t work but after a while, its charm creeps up on you and wins you over. There’s a sincerity to their approach, and if there is something consistent about Amason, it’s the quiet yet bright mood they bring forward.

I also want to talk about Amanda Bergman for a second, because there’s a sense of cool and confidence in her, and she also has this sweetness with her vocal style and lyrics. She has music under another alias, Idiot Wind, and that has her following a more acoustic, Nick Drake vibe. She has been previously married to fellow musician Tallest Man on Earth, and if you see their videos performing together, you’ll see comments gushing over their chemistry.

Her lyrical obscurity and delivery in “Algen” always wins me over, and when she sings “What Color? White color ages”, or “I get away with it.  I get the kind of” or “And when I miss that time, I’ll bring my bag”…I don’t know but that’s the type of “it looks good on paper” mentality I dig. She really shines in “NFB” where she sings quietly and then she sings with a mighty fervor.

I especially like her in “Velodrome”, which seems to be about falling out of love in a dome for bicycle riding and training. Interesting, because I imagine a music video where two people fall in love inside. Still, Amanda Bergman sings with such description I can’t help but notice some hints of pain.

Amason is still relatively new but I’m certain they are going to leave their mark. Sky City is undeniably one of the most unexpected surprises I have heard this year. I also have learned a lesson from listening to this, and it’s something of a gospel that I tell my friends about music they are often unfamiliar with; “you should really just go for it”.

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