Confident third album from Swedish band with a number of high points.
‘The Grief’ is the third album from Swedish band Winhill/Losehill and features twelve new songs from the songwriting duo of Jonas Svennem (composer) and Carl Åkerlund (lyricist). The album comes a full ten years after their debut ‘Swing of Sorrow’, a debut so well received in their homeland that it led to appearances with various orchestras including the Gothenburg Symphony.
Those collaborations were said to have influenced their subsequent album and there are a number of tracks here where the full, lush, layered arrangements hint at more of the same. ‘The Grief’ sees the band building on the confidence gleaned from these previous endeavours and wider influences. There are some changes in pace and tone on the album but mostly it is a band showcasing that belief with rousing chorus lines and harmonies.
As ever, it is the songs that have something extra about them, a lyric, a riff, a change in tone, that tend to stand out from the rest. ‘Back To The Start’ is the final track on the album and, with its memorable ear worm of a piano riff it is a glorious finale and would grace any playlist.
That piano leaps to the forefront again on ‘Lovers and Traitors’ where the intro leads into a gorgeous female lead vocal from Ji Nilsson, sounding here spookily like a Scandinavian Maia Sharp. Nilsson is employed throughout on backing vocals but her musical sparring here with Svennem is a thrill to behold. Also featuring a Steely Dan-esque jazzy solo and a brass intervention the band have thrown the kitchen sink at this one and the result is a wonderous thing.
‘Have You Been Working’ couldn’t be further away in tone. A simple piano accompaniment to a plaintive vocal with lush harmonies it serves to emphasise the variety that Winhill/Losehill have brought to the album. It is a heartfelt, emotional sidestep away from the bigger sound that forms the basis of the album’s overall sound. ‘Valentine’s Day’ starts in similar vein before growing into something a little bigger and completes a quartet of highlights.
On these standout tracks there is a definite style and sound, both musically and vocally, that could easily bring the band to a much wider contemporary audience if there were radio stations with enough imagination to pick up on them.