LONEY DEAR RELEASE NEW ALBUM ‘A LANTERN AND A BELL’
A Lantern and a Bell – the widely-praised new album from Loney dear – aka Swedish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanängen – is out now. Released via Peter Gabriel’s Real World label, A Lantern and a Bell – which includes Radio X play-listed single ‘Trifles’ – is available to stream on all platforms from here.
Sea birds, distorted noise, and then the line “Mighty ships hung over ground” – the marine theme not only begins but makes its mark throughout the entirety of A Lantern and a Bell, the first album from Loney dear since 2017. The soundscape, with Emil Svanängen’s unmistakable falsetto at the very front of the mix, is extremely stripped down. Strictly musically, one could describe the music as sublime sacred minimalism, but just as much, it’s a story about the trust and friendship that has developed between Emil and producer Emanuel Lundgren in their mythical studio on western Södermalm in Stockholm.
“The goal was for Emil not to hide, but to dare to come forward”, say Emanuel. “We have slowly become friends for nine years, but only now could we work so closely together, and the proximity is heard”. “It has taken me a while to dare to surrender”, says Emil. “My previous albums have been “collage records”, made in the belief that perfectionism exists, in a mania. Here I wanted to go in exactly the opposite direction and simplify. That’s why we recorded everything ourselves without any other musicians”.
Speaking about Emil’s new record – on which he has consulted as a sounding board, label founder Peter Gabriel says; Sad soulful melodies that create space in your head that fill with memories dreams and tenderness. I am very proud that we are working with such a gifted songwriter. When you’re isolating, what better than to be wrapped up in these beautiful imaginative constructions – the work of a master.
A Lantern and a Bell clocks in at 27 minutes and 45 seconds – like a tautly plotted half-hour tv drama – and was recorded in just six months. To Emil’s voice, usually only a compliant piano, a discreet double bass, occasional chords, and diffused water sounds, at dark low frequencies, pulsating from below unknown depths, recorded under high pressure. The compositions themselves are seemingly simple, very easily accessible harmonically, but all the more provocatively existentially, not least the album’s perhaps strongest moment, the veritable test of strength ‘Go Easy On Me Now’.
“When the work on this album started, I was feeling quite low, I had changed, half my life had changed. I ended up in a really bad place, a state of despair”, says Emil. “And then we record this, and it’s easily the best thing we’ve done, with songs filled with laughter and darkness about each other. In a way, the whole album is probably a story about losing your temper”.
For those who know their Loney dear, the constant references to sea and ships are hardly something new. “All that is an important part of my inner life, maybe a romantic dream of adventure, but also a phobia, a danger I cannot help but be drawn to. Near where I live, freighters pass by every day and the sounds of their engines get into my head. And further into the music.”
A beautiful release which will grip your full attention. Emotionally striking throughout, this album will resonate for time to come. Hit play and let the immersive creation take over.