Slim Loris, formed initially by singer and bass player Mattias Cederstam and guitarist Robert Barrefelt back in 2009, started as a duo before they eventually grew into a quartet. Their work has garnered them much attention in Europe, with a performance at the legendary Cavern Club in the U.K. as well as two of their songs featured in the Swedish film, “Var kommer mjölken ifrån“. Intent on reaching new frontiers and extending their musical capacities, they recruited Pecka Hammarstedt to produce and mix their new album, “Love and Fear”, released in May 19th of this year. Their new record is comprised of 11 tracks primarily consisting of folk-tinged numbers and acoustic ballads with occasional inflections of pop and rock ‘n’ roll. Slim Loris makes a genuine attempt to reach untapped boundaries in their new album, however it comes across as mere pleasantry; an easy and comfortable listen with a range of material covered in their lyrics, but lacking in communicating in a profound or interesting way.
Scattered throughout the album are upbeat and catchy tracks as they delve into heavier rock ‘n’ roll and dynamic rhythms. “Sparkling Sun” is a standout on their album, a brilliant summer song and reminiscent of The Beatles classic Brit-rock grooves. The first single off their album, “Down”, encompasses an uptempo beat thanks to Ellenberg’s snappy drums and Cederstam’s sing-along lyrics with the final line of “she’s the leader of our destruction”, perhaps alluding to the timeless conflict of the musician lifestyle and being on the road while precariously balancing a relationship. Slim Loris’ track “World” emerges as their most interesting and experimental song, with warbled and dreamy vocals encouraging the listener to “set sail now to the sunny side of life” before fading out.
Most tracks are cast with a hint of hope and optimism; “Higher” is an uplifting anthem with illustrious instrumentals and Cederstam crooning that he would “do it all over again to reach this height”, emphasizing that despite perpetual letdowns, hard work does pay off in the end.”Better Than I” reminds lovers of the anticipation of meeting in the not-so-distant-future, rather than the dread of leaving your partner in long distance relationships (“days will fly you’ll see, I’ll be home sooner than you think”). Their closing track “Once” is haunting and bittersweet, yet leaves a lingering notion that risks are certainly worth taking.
It’s interesting to note that the cover of “Love and Fear” is a concrete vision frozen in the past with a surprise element that one would least expect, as are the seemingly contrasting emotions associated with Love and Fear. Perhaps this is Slim Loris’ attempt to present an album full of the unanticipated, although upon careful scrutiny, fear may simply be a disguise for love and the perception of surprise upon the first listen seems to be lacking. “Love and Fear” is certainly a decent undertaking, but one that remains a safe feat rather than adventuring onto new musical horizons.