Mixtapes & Cellmates - Soon

Dan Round 19/01/2010

Rating: 4/5

With their glowingly-received self-titled album - their debut effort tapped well into the vibrant Scandinavian scene in 2007 - Mixtapes & Cellmates' brand of electronic indie rock sat pretty amongst the likes of Peter, Bjorn and John and Kings of Convenience. Despite this after heavy touring the group dissolved, embarking on a hiatus as the band was seemingly put on hold in favour of other projects - members formed everything from twee indiepop bands to punk groups and techno outfits; lead singer Robert Svensson achieving some notable success in his homeland with lauded solo album “Young Punks Are on the Never-Never”.

Regrouped and revitalised by successful studio sessions in early 2009, Mixtapes & Cellmates began a wholesale revamp with a new, less electronic sound, as well as a new member - live drummer Viktor Källgren, who has been credited with helping refocus the band and redefine their sound. With the October release of second album “ROX” (not unleashed over here until March), Mixtapes & Cellmates' arduous comeback is now complete. Packed full of indiepop tunes and anthemia, the album has already spawned the download single “Soft Eyes”, a wintery, almost shoegazing effort sung by bassist Matilda Berggren. “Soon” - first single proper - is even better.

Archetypal of Mixtapes and Cellmates' new direction with shiny production, unhinged guitars and a bittersweet chorus, “Soon” begins with four authoritative taps of Källgren's hi-hat before seismically exploding, the band firing on all cylinders. Robert Svensson's voice is at its most emotive - fractured and fragile, yet tuneful too - while a complex layer of tinkling background keys, high octane riffs and doom heavy bass makes the song the most memorable the Stockholm quintet have produced to date. Featuring confessional lyrics over a warm melody - in perfect sync with Henning Runolf's epic wall of guitar noise - Mixtapes and Cellmates have taken the best bits of their old style by keeping their melodic brilliance well in place, while adding new, rawer elements to create a more live(ly) sound. On the basis of this and the rave reviews “ROX” has been generating, it seems doubtful the band will ease straight back into a lengthy absence again any time soon.

Once again, a Swedish outfit has crafted a pop gem.

Release date : 25/01/2010