Mount Song’s debut album, the latest incarnation of Swedish Singer-Songwriter Jacob Johansson, is an expansive yet personal record. Melancholic but also uplifting, this is an album that will have you listening over and over again.
Touching on the influence of a whole host iconic artists, Mount Song will sound instantly familiar but never does it cross over into tribute or parody. These songs and this singer deserve acclaim all of their own.
The album melds intimate, brittle vocals with fuzzy guitar, jangly pop on ‘Rocket’ Ride’ and synth driven 80’s rock. The pacing of the songs and tone of the guitar in places will draw comparisons a host of great US acts and ‘History’ evokes memories of Teenage Fanclub at their brilliant, understated best.
I don’t want to list all the bands who Mount Song could sound like, this album is so much more than that but Mount Song will have fans of Jeff Buckley doing a double-take. There is an intelligence to the structure of the songs and beautiful harmonies, particularly on ‘Guitar on Fire’ and ‘Nothing’, a single from 2016, which also boast grungy guitar and a builds to a crescendo with a guitar solo and chorus before fading out in a haze of feedback. Throughout the album Johansson and his band display fantastic songcraft to build a beautiful record with a real atmospheric sound.
Lead single and album opened ‘Halo’ is a microcosm of all of it. Beautifully affecting and wistful, it sets the tone perfectly. Understated is an apt description for the general production feel. There is the anthem ‘All Over The World’ which is a rousing sing-a-long before the album eases back into melancholic beauty with ‘My Friend’ and, as the album draws to a conclusion, ‘We have It All’ pitches sadness against an epic , uplifting chorus from which the song absolutely soars, backed by a sonic guitar that fades out to leave a lonely piano to close the record.
I’m going to finish on what is for me, the peak of the album. I’ve left it to mention last as the song ‘Wake Up’ is just wonderful. In places Johansson’s voice is so eerily similar to Jeff Buckley I had to check twice that I hadn’t inadvertently put on a Buckley song. It’s a beautiful song and it is beautifully performed. It’s unsettling.
This album is touted as something for fans of Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith and Loney Dear. It absolutely will appeal to fans of those artists but it’s not all introspection and melancholy. Mount Song is uplifting and energised too. It’s an album and artist that deserve acclaim and ought to be heard by as many people as possible.