With a moniker that roughly translates to “we used to love each other so much” and an explosive LP itself reconfigured as “the saddest music in the world,” this batch of Swedish screamo purists is somber in size and scope. With six members, it becomes exponentially more interesting when these treacherous textures stretch out and simultaneously shrink back into their own contorted character sketches.
The offerings on Den sorgligaste musiken i världen oscillate between the technically impressive and the scathingly pervasive. “Leva som snö (Live like snow)” serves as a fiery sampler of what follows: peace-seeking post-rock landscapes eventually have their fields charred by frantic-smoked guitar lines, percussion, and shattered screaming vocals to match. The seesawing between fuller fare on the instrumental end and equally stacked lyricism finds a middle ground with thematic material. Melancholy originates from lovelorn narration. Stock footage such as “I tried to be the person you wanted, but I wasn’t enough” gets reeled next to more poetic phrasing like “I bring warmth, I bring cold/I stir things up in your static life/Then I melt into spring and then you leave me.” The scenes that ensue are drenched in the same grainy relationship woes — and this trope grows stale quicker than desired.
From a strictly instrumental standpoint, the LP’s remaining seven songs alternate between explosive introductions or collapsible parting shots, which serve as their respective highlights. As a potent in memoriam statement, the fiery “Vi går och går och går sönder (We go and go to pieces)” excels with its boiling-point of a salutation: panned-left shouts are slammed down under twisted waves of guitars. Yet, its lyrical tapestry tears away into cliche (“You were my everything, now just a memory”) with the background noise falling away into near-ambient sleepiness for over two minutes.
Understandably on the other end of the spectrum, closer “Illusionen om oss (The illusion of us)” strongly benefits from a jarring coda which teeters on the edge of inducing hope. Anthemic guitar climbs over pulsing chords, while heavy vocal delivery soars — for fear of being stabbed by its own intensity — exclaiming: “You bring out the best in me/The person who I want to be/And loneliness disappears” as the scene fades to a brighter black than the rest of the album has painted.
There are some moments of key variations here. The punk-kissed “Alfa och Omega (Alpha and Omega)” punches off with welcome, if transient, change, while “Ett hjärtats svedjebruk (A heart set on fire and then left fallow)” drips with Gothic-smeared ominousness. But, these changes in tune fail to distract much from the crux of Vi som älskade…’s sonic argument: broken hearts burst open and fall silent the same way, nearly every time.
A record that bursts forth with such intense urgency fortunately has a vinyl transition which matches this commitment to emotional sharpness. The searing vocal delivery on most tracks, especially the opening and closing selections, course through a stereo system with crisp and heartwrenching focus. The effected tones on “Vi går och går och går sönder (We go and go to pieces)” remain able to be heard despite a tidal wave of tenuous, tangled instrumentation. Pocketed moments such as the shift briefly teased on “Ett hjärtats svedjebruk (A heart set on fire and then left fallow)” highlight Vi som alskade…’s musical diversity and attention to production-based detail.
While the outer jacket may be standard, the two labels involved with Den sorgligaste musiken i världen opted for a double-sided printed inner sleeve to house their LP. Credits are displayed on one side, with the band’s name and a single, small photo placed above them. On the reverse, the album’s full lyrics are presented, understandably, untranslated. (For English-translated lyrics, the band has provided such on their Bandcamp.)
The LP received a first pressing of 1,000 copies on blood red vinyl. Zegema Beach Records launched a bundle package with pre-orders for this release, which includes a T-shirt featuring the release’s front artwork. A download card is included.
“Leva som snö (Live like snow),” “Alfa och Omega (Alpha and Omega),” “Illusionen om oss (The illusion of us)”
“Den sorgligaste musiken i världen” is available for purchase over at Zegema Beach Records’ webstore as both a standalone LP and in a LP/T-shirt bundle. US buyers can order the release via Blood of the Young here. The release is streaming in full on Bandcamp.