★★★★ Pink Noise SONIC CATHEDRAL. CD/DL/LP Pop smarts to the fore on Swedish trio’s debut album.
Pink Noise’s influences are obvious. Low-Life-era New Order, Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine quickly surface – one track is knowingly titled Darklands. Instead of being a grab-bag, the first album from Swedish trio Echo Ladies is evidence for a coherent vision. At its core, this is pop music of a rare assurance. Hummable tune after tune rattles from the speakers over a full-blooded 27 minutes. Almost Happy is a soaring drama with waterfall guitar and Hooky-esque bass. Apart is as much an aural swoon as the best of lost Crepuscule Records stars Antena. Overrated is the synaesthetic counterpart of daylight filtered through a stainedglass window. Kudos, too, for the band and producer Joakim Lindberg’s flawless balance of sharp-edged sonic attack and misty, diffuse vocals. Sweden’s most striking export since I Break Horses.