Every now and again a pop album is recorded that hearkens back to the days when creative substance was revered far more than marketable style. Such efforts have become rather scarce over the past number of years, thus the new release from Swedish sextet Ronderlin is a welcomed arrival to the realm of listener friendly pop music.
Consisting of 12 songs, Wave Another Day Goodbye is the embodiment of polished instrumentals deftly mixed with poignant lyrical styling, one that successfully bridges the chasm between '80s Alan Parsons Project and '90s Radiohead.
Lead vocalist Kalle Grahm bears an uncanny aural resemblance to vintage Al Stewart, as evidenced most notably on the tracks "You Made Somebody Want You" and "Time for Farming Soon". As one listens closely, Grahm's voice can almost be heard singing a few verses from "Year of the Cat". Additional offerings "Black Eyebrows," "Everything's Just Fine" and the album's title track similarly reflect Grahm's Stewart influence. His vocals flow effortlessly while maintaining a decidedly uplifting quality about them.
Ronderlin's sound also incorporates an early REM sophistication to it. The songs "Reflected", "She Stays at Home", and "Summer Likes the Wind" revisit the earnestness that Michael Stipe wrote and sang with long before he started taking himself too seriously. Fine guitar and keyboard work are interwoven, providing these tracks with wonderfully vibrant backdrops.
The album does include several surprising deviations from the pop blueprint the aforementioned songs adhere to. "Sweet Nothings" is built around an interplay of guitars and bass with a distinctly Southwestern U.S. flair to it, (a somewhat unusual mix for a Swedish pop group, but one that Ronderlin handles with ease); "Life Brings on a Shiver" and "The Man and the Magpie" are punctuated by a somberness reminiscent of the Smiths' more brooding efforts; "Icy Fingers" is a 91-second exercise in piano-backed syrupy sweetness that is by far the disc's weakest inclusion.
As fine a recording as Wave Another Day Goodbye is, it nonetheless possesses one glaring contradiction to it: the seriousness found in much of the lyrics is directly contrasted to the ornate and sensitive musicianship that frames the material. It would seem that the melodic lushness of Ronderlin's sound would be more suitably complimented by greater lyrical illumination and less heavy undertones.
That said, pop music purists will be quite pleased with the 35 minutes of recorded bliss that Wave Another Day Goodbye provides, and listeners should be optimistic about Ronderlin's future creative efforts.