No-nonsense ensemble from Stockholm leave orphan town to take on the world – or, at least, its macrocosm.
One doesn’t have to be at large to feel free, and this group definitely reached the stage where they need not care about conforming to fans’ expectations anymore, and “Atom” must find the foursome looking inside smallest particles in search of the grand scheme of things. It’s difficult to see such an approach from the start, though, when arresting folk flow of the title track tries to focus the listener on the ensemble’s panoramic vision that’s quite menacing in its expanse, despite the delicateness of guitar caress and piano solemnity. Yet once chorale-like vocals and orchestra abandon anthemic scope to take an optimistic look at “Another Day” and introduce infectious singalong, funky expectancy will take over to sting an unsuspecting ear with raga-tinged psychedelia.
With big ideas out of their system, the group concentrate on simpler, much more magnetic, if mundane, matters – “Mother taught me facts of life,” suggests singer Bie Karlsson – and that’s where the real action should begins as the powerful beats of “Fallen In Love” bare the band’s pop sensibility, a trait based on the ’60s sort of jangle. Surfing the twang, “Old Town Fishermen Blues” could be another blast from the past, had it not have this oh-so-modern aloof feeling attached to cinematic arrangement which swings further and go deeper on “Potential Loss Of Faith” – predatory and desperate, yet sweet – thanks to Matte Norberg’s six string strum, while the insistent bluegrass-esque filigree behind “Sister” makes the entire sequence truly irresistible.
As flute and organ inform “Kissing In The Rain” with prog sophistication, and the whistle and stomp of “I See Your Heart” reclaim ground for a jubilant dance, “Hey Hi Ho” increases emotional density to contrast catchy chorus with serious sincerity before wrapping “Salt And Chrome” in warm, airy romanticism. Yet, of course, the quartet wouldn’t leave without a smile, so the punchy “Crappy Eyes” delivers it in spades – that’s what it takes to take the unjust world in a love embrace and explode into space. Universal and intimate at the same time, “Atoms” is a truly charming record.