Judging from chart success, Kent is the biggest band in Sweden right now. Their popularity highlights the degree to which the British and Swedish music scenes are very much in sync with each other. Sporting lush dynamics and a moody ambiance, Kent is firmly entrenched in the Verve, Radiohead, and Manic Street Preachers school of artrock that currently rules the roost in the U.K. Tracks like “Lifesavers,” “If You Were Here,” and “Before It All Ends” sound like OK Computer outtakes minus Thom Yorke’s lyrical brilliance, while songs like “Things She Said” are reminiscent of “Drugs Don’t Work”-style Verve. Reaching beyond brit-pop for influence, “Bianca” hints at early Nirvana, particularly the massively influential “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” All this is to say, Kent are doing nothing new, but Isola makes for a compelling listen nonetheless.
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// Notes from the Road
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