Let Me Introduce My Friends
Sweden’s Emanuel Lundgren called up 28 friends to make a record in 2005; to the great surprise of many, that self-released EP led to this debut on Epic Records a year later. The coalition of musicians — of vastly varying skill levels — produced a lush recording that is gleeful, melancholy, joyous and ... big. Very big. With a battery of instruments like glockenspiel, horns, woodwinds, piano, accordion, guitars, banjos and multi-part harmonies — plus 29 voices and 58 pairs of hands — well, things could easily have gotten out of hand. Instead, the songs here are tightly crafted, well written, and simply brilliant. With many tracks under the three minute mark, it’s clear Lundgren understands the mechanics of a good pop song, and Let Me Introduce ... is full of them. Standouts include the giddily-paced “Oversleeping,” which could easily get you out of bed in the morning; “Treehouse,” a ridiculously memorable, sweet ditty; and the anxious “This Boy,” a swinging little number about growing up, featuring the vocals of Sub Pop’s Loney, Dear. The real gem is the freakishly upbeat “We’re from Barcelona,” one of the best pop songs of the year. Though you may be reluctant to embrace songs about chicken pox and stamp collecting, once you hear a chorus of ten or twenty voices lift a lyric like, “When I wake up every morning, I’m feeling alright,” well, it’s hard not to share the feeling. Resistance is futile.