[12 July 2009]
Somewhere in my parent’s basement there undoubtedly lies a box of compact discs, untouched since high school, of bands that sound exactly like Sweden’s epic sad sacks Jeniferever. Mineral, Jejune, the Appleseed Cast, Sunny Day Real Estate—Jeniferever is evocative enough of all of these that anyone nostalgic for the days when a significant portion of the indie underground was populated sullen guitar bands who mixed an unabashed melodramatic sweep with pouty vocals and simple, chiming guitars will find ample sustenance in Spring Tides’ pleasantly melodic languor. The album is at its best when the songwriting allows the often tempered but nonetheless quite beautifully expressive vocals of singer Kristofer Jonson to stay in focus, as they do most effectively on the quasi-spoken-word “Ox-Eye” and, albeit inconsistently, on the typically overlong “Nangijala”. Indeed, it is the sheer imposing length of nearly every one of the ten songs here—only the uncharacteristically forthright “Sparrow Hills” manages to keep the running time under five minutes, while most of the other songs are content to wind on well beyond that—is ultimately what ends up turning Spring Tides into something of a chore when it should be gently captivating or, for those of us who spent too many of our teenage years moping along with bands like this, pleasantly nostalgic.