[sic] Magazine

Light In Your Life – Light In Your Life

The music of Sweden fascinates me. Everyone knows the pop of course from ABBA right up to Peter Bjorn and John. Yet there is excellence seemingly everywhere, across every genre – Folk, electronic, alt rock and post punk. Think of The Knife, Kent and Jeniferever, For such a small country (total population less than Moscow) the quality is remarkable. Light In Your Life come from the tiny University town of Uppsala, the same home town as The Search and Emerald Park, the same town as Jeniferever, surely one of the most important bands in existence. What is it about Upsalla? It’s a question for another time and place. (Unfair to hijack LIYL’s review piece for a thesis on the Swedish/Uppsala music scene, although surely it has to be tackled at some point?)

LIYL are Swedish five-piece, blending dark, emotive, almost gothic post punk with the dynamics of post rock. There’s a mood of menace throughout this album. I’m not sure if it’s their debut or not as I’m pretty sure LIYL used to be Sleazy Romance, a group I remember from their close acquaintance with The Search? Debut or not, LIYL have created a fine record. They may find themselves with an Editors tag but my mind skips across the Atlantic to acts such as Interpol, Film School and Snowden. Not only the gloominess of those terrific bands but also their atonal qualities. I admire groups that are prepared to play around with tonality. It’s a risk. So many other bands ARE playing it safe, going for that coffee table angst and selling large quantities of records as a result.

Two things lift this record above the average. 1) the wonderful instrumentation brought to life by production genius/Jeniferever frontman, Kristofer Jonson. And 2) the extraordinary vocal of Johann Bernovall. This guy is no Jeff Buckley, that’s sure. The range is limited, the delivery nasal and croaky. And yet it works. If,…if they are to be compared to Editors, then they are like Editors with Sunset Rubdown vocals. The vocal, the whole album in fact, becomes celebratory – a wild, intoxicated, reeling gypsy campfire dance. Listening is like being flung around in the air by trapeze artists.

Overall, the album poses difficulties. Like Sunset Rubdown, it all works marvellously if you listen to a couple of tracks at a time. The challenge was always going to be how to sustain the intensity across a ten-song album. LIYL can’t quite carry us through to the albums close with the same enthusiasm levels as earlier. Maybe the trick is NOT to be quite so exhausting all the time – an instrumental here, a guest singer (female) there, maybe, instead of the procession of crashing cymbals and post-rock guitar crescendos? It’s probably nit picking as they do a hell of a lot right too – The Wolfgang Press-esque bass on ‘It would be fine’, the lighter touches on ‘Geldof’ and ‘Song about love’ and that Jeneiferever, signature, guitar chime on Sleeping Bag are all highlights. All in all it makes for something more than promising. This is a band that definitely has something. It’s in there. They just have to figure out how to tap it.