Surface Sounds

Surface Sounds

On 2016’s A / B, Mosfellsbær, Iceland’s KALEO delivered a slab of raw, big-sound rockers that was heavily indebted to American blues and soul. With their second LP’s euphoric lead single, “Break My Baby,” the four-piece once again demonstrates their skill with foot-stomping grooves, underlined by singer-songwriter JJ Julius Son’s breathy, smoky vocals. Even if Son intended for the songs on Surface Sounds to be open to interpretation, there’s depth behind the sleazy swagger—whether he cries for spiritual healing (“Free the Slave”) or reflects on the impact of beauty standards put on women (“Skinny”). The album’s final stretch features some of the band’s most tender songs yet, like the rootsy ballad “I Want More,” on which Son yearns to rekindle a flame against a backdrop of twinkling guitars and soaring strings.

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