Undermining alienation, Swedish one-man ensemble seek for the truth to chase away the gloom.
If there is one thing multi-instrumentalist Razmig Tekeyan refuses to recognize, it’s limits, but then the name of the band he’s been leading for 21 years now should suggest the perpetual pursuit of answers and other unknown pleasures. That’s why neither the collective’s downsizing to the core member on the last two records, nor a mere six months which passed since the later of those saw the light of day prevented this Uppsala artist from delivering an 18-song-strong album to explore the quiet battle between the cerebral and the emotional layers of one’s existence. And that’s why, while “Heart’s Racing” may seem serene on the surface, there’s a storm brewing here.
Locating his hazy muse between shoegazing rock and electropop, Tekeyan has created a sort of the underworld with “Lost” – its most romantic number – a possible key to the secrets the acoustic strum and intimate vocals of opener “Saturday Night” hint at before the track’s dark optimism is brightened by effervescent synthesizers, and the disco rhythms of “Under The Radar” signal a shift in the mood as subdued, if rather sharp, riffs probe the prominent bass line. With urban urgency firmly set in between funky licks, “Don’t Let Yourself Down” will offer a heavier, yet translucent, experience, only for “Winter” to dissolve the tension in a delicate, Yuletide-tinctured ballad and sprinkle the cut with a simple groove and spice the flow with a solemn piano. But whereas glossy guitars and baroque organ in “Tracker Of Kicks” feel quite glacial, the cold calmness of “Ghosts” is suitably spectral – yet humanly triumphant, too – and “Haunted By A Feeling Of Invisibility” contrasts the rest of tunes once the song’s sparse vibe is wrapped in strings.
Of course, with so many pieces of a similar stripe, the record’s impact could have been stronger if it was shorter, but there’s something entrancing about the scintillating “Vacant” and exciting about “Replacement” whose gallop is softened thanks to Razmig’s tender tone, even though both songs are unnecessarily long as well. Still, the chamber-like “Tell Me I’m Not Alone” delivers a reassuring, hopeful finale – and indeed, the Swedish artist’s not alone anymore, as THE SEARCH became a real collective again, soon after the album was done and dusted. Can there be a better reason for one’s heart to race?