Thursday, May 30 2024

The weird thing about reviewing a new artist is that sometimes they sound familiar, but you can’t quite place why. Often, you’re caught between your initial perception and something altogether innate that gnaws aways at you, almost within grasp, but never fully materialising and that’s where I am with Andreas Gavlén. An indie rock musician from Gävle on the Baltic coast of Sweden. He entered the fray, as a solo artist, in 2023 with the brooding, yet captivating ‘Far too Late’ as well as ‘Eyes’, a synth driven, trap beat infusing piece of electronica.  

It’s only after listening to both songs that I begin to unravel the enigma. But first, the progression from ‘Eyes’, through ‘Far too late’ onto his third single, ‘A Perfect Lie’, both is striking and impressive. The first shoots of a definite identity are beginning to break the soil and introspectively reach skywards.  

So, to my immediate thoughts of ‘A Perfect Lie’, a song that builds slowly, yet engages the listener with catchy hooks, interesting overdubs and good use of harmony. And the drumming? Well, that gives the song it’s dynamic emphasis; from mezzo forte, to forte, to fortissimo, to crescendo. Taking the sound from constrained to as open and vast as Andreas’ Baltic panorama.

From a structural perspective the song is inherently binary and the chord progressions are repetitive, verging on inert. I don’t mean that to sound negative in any way, it’s more hypnotic and ‘Shoegaze’-esque. The main load is carried by Andreas’ vocals and drums. That doesn’t diminish the contribution the guitars. The clean intro lead is simple, yet effective and adds colour and tension when required; whilst the rhythm and bass are plodding, almost ponderously keeping a dark, foreboding ritual throughout.  

There is a definite ’80s new-wave vibe, mixed with post-punk. That, ‘something altogether innate’ I alluded to at the start is elements of The Psychedelic Furs, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Replacements, with a nod to a more recent, yet equally engaging band, The Editors. 

It’s a very melancholy palette, but one which Andreas uses to good effect and is perfectly in tune with his narrative; a tale of desperation, vulnerability and the complexities of human relationships. “You always smiled when I was around,” becomes, “You always cried when I was around,” resolving to, “You could tell the perfect lie.” There’s nothing extra-ordinary about the sentiment per se, but how it’s progressed; mirroring the breakdown of a relationship is synchronically woven within the raw emotion and dynamic shift of the song. 

This is a well produced song. Everything is crystal clear and overdubs sit perfectly within the mix. The vocals are prominent, but not obtrusive and every instrument can be clearly picked out – no mean feat when dealing with a ‘fuzz’ distortion. 

The most pleasing aspect, for me, is to hear the progression made in such a short space of time. It makes me hungry for the next instalment in Andreas’ solo career. For now, ‘A Perfect Lie’, represents an evolution of sorts and is well worth a listen, especially if you’re familiar with anything new-wave or post-punk. 

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Review

Summary

A gritty, melancholic, slice of ’80s new-wave infused with post-punk. The first shoots of a definite identity are beginning to break the soil and introspectively reach skywards for this new voice.  
84%
A melodic post-punk Hit

Rating

Song Quality
Vocal Performance
Lyrics
Instrumentation
Production

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About Author

Gareth Johnston

Gareth Johnston is a Lancashire based musician and producer who studied music at MMU. He is a former reviewer for 'Glitzine' and when not writing for 'The Indie Grid' can be found restoring old furniture whilst listening to obscure alt-rock. He has too many favourite bands to pick one and insists it's easier to pick a favourite child.

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