11 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Joel Wästberg was initially apprehensive about releasing his own music. The multi-instrumentalist (who goes by the stage name sir Was) played drums for Swedish singer José González before going out on his own. The success of his 2017 debut Digging a Tunnel emboldened him to push his sound further. If Wästberg has any lingering self-doubt, it isn’t apparent on his sophomore album, Holding on to a Dream. The Swedish artist polishes the lo-fi buzz of his debut with a renewed confidence.

The album’s opener “Fly Away” is a reflection on past insecurities, carried by languid drum beats and mystifying synths. “Pin Me Down” is comparably affecting, a poignant monologue about rising above anxiety. Elsewhere, Wästberg recalls a past relationship while showcasing his sonic fluidity on the jazzy “No Giving Up.” He partners with fellow Swede Yukimi Nagano (of Little Dragon) on “Deployed,” an examination of emotional resilience.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Joel Wästberg was initially apprehensive about releasing his own music. The multi-instrumentalist (who goes by the stage name sir Was) played drums for Swedish singer José González before going out on his own. The success of his 2017 debut Digging a Tunnel emboldened him to push his sound further. If Wästberg has any lingering self-doubt, it isn’t apparent on his sophomore album, Holding on to a Dream. The Swedish artist polishes the lo-fi buzz of his debut with a renewed confidence.

The album’s opener “Fly Away” is a reflection on past insecurities, carried by languid drum beats and mystifying synths. “Pin Me Down” is comparably affecting, a poignant monologue about rising above anxiety. Elsewhere, Wästberg recalls a past relationship while showcasing his sonic fluidity on the jazzy “No Giving Up.” He partners with fellow Swede Yukimi Nagano (of Little Dragon) on “Deployed,” an examination of emotional resilience.

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