LONEY DEAR: New Faces 09

Swedish twee-poppers Loney Dear know what it’s like to tough it out under the radar. After years of promoting his homegrown CD-R demos with little more than an unwavering grit to guide him, frontman Emil Svanängen finally broke through with 2007’s Loney, Noir when Seattle taste-makers Sub Pop gave him his shot. A bushy-tailed blush of sunshine, the album pushed against its dainty exterior with a level of song craft the former bedroom artist had never achieved before, especially with the track “I Am John” that easily stood out as one of the year’s peaks.

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Dear John, Loney Dear’s latest release braves even deeper territory. Like all of Svanängen’s work, the album centers around his pinched falsetto and an unshakeable fusion of crisp, finger-swept acoustics and synth-pop tweaks. But what truly pushes Loney Dear beyond typical singer-songwriter boundaries is how brazenly Dear John delves into dusky orchestral embellishments and turns his penchant for subtle Casio blips into a full-on electronic charge. An artist intent on the value of repeat play, Svanängen may never break past a fickle low-profile stature, but his music only expands within its finite, alluring confines. In other words, Loney Dear are too sweet for rock and roll, and all the better for it.

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