Logh: The Raging Sun (Bad Taste Records, 2004)
It seems that the shadow of Radiohead looms large in the world of current independent music. And while it would be unfair to say that Swedish band Logh’s full-length CD The Raging Sun is a ripoff of Radiohead, the fact remains that Thom & company are a notable influence on this band. At the same time, however, Logh is able to craft their own sound from the conventional rock influences that are present in their music, and in the process create a compelling and enjoyable listen with The Raging Sun.
The first aspect of the band that stands out to the listener are the vocals of Mattias Friberg. Friberg delivers his tenor in a passionate and accomplished manner, and his slight Scandinavian accent and emotional articulation remind me of Lasse Lindh (though sounding less glam than Lindh). Friberg’s vocals are especially noteworthy, since Logh has been together only since 1998 and up until now have only received a modest amount of attention. Another shining aspect of the band that shines on the first single “The Contractor and the Assassin” is the steady drumming of Marco Hildén. Hildén crafts delicious and creative rhthyms, accenting them with perfectly orchestrated fills, and as a result his drumming always carefully supports the songs throughout the duration of The Raging Sun.
The Raging Sun begins with the aforementioned “The Contractor and the Assassin”, an extremely well-written acoustic-rock song. The song’s structure leans almost on the side of math-rock, with angular guitar work and deceptively dense drum playing, before leading to a dreamy interlude of lingering guitars. But, while Logh (and especially Hildén) shows off their ability to create interesting music on the faster rock jams like “The Contractor and the Assassin”, “The Raging Sun”, and “At This My Arm Was Weakened”, the band really shines when they strip away the layers of their music and leave Friberg to passionately release the strains of their wonderful songs over a minimalist bed of instrumentation. The short “End Cycle” is a perfect example of this, as a solitary piano backs up Friberg’s melancholy vocals. Yet, even in such an “unplugged” and minimalist affair, the band demonstrates their attention to detail as they incorporate a gorgeous piano triple note line into the main piano line. It’s on moments like these that the band resembles Radiohead, as the band subtly experiments with rhythm and other musical ideas in a similar vein of their more well-known peers, in the end creating a similar effect of a slightly other-worldly rock experience.
“An Alliance of Hearts” is a little more structured as a song than “End Cycle”, as it features full band instrumentation yet retains a stripped back “less is more” approach. The song uses this foundation to build to a nice climax featuring more remarkable drumming from Hildén and considerable restraint in Logh’s overall playing. “Thin Lines” is another sparser song from Logh, as the band smartly pushes Friberg’s vocals in front of a slowcore instrumentation that wastes no sounds. The plodding tempo, chiming guitars, and subtle bass line reminds me of something Joe Christmas would have played on the fabulous North to the Future, and “Thin Lines” easily matches anything played on that cherished CD. Almost comically, the intensely loud “The Bones of Generations” disrupts the mood with screaming vocals and frantic playing by the band. The song (which almost sounds like a grunge song transported out of the early 1990’s) seems a little out of place, but nevertheless demonstrates Logh’s’s ability to straddle subgenres of music. Following this, Logh returns to a more stripped-down approach on what might be their best song, “A Vote for Democracy”. Delicate acoustic guitars support Friberg’s haunting delivery. The song’s melody, though glum, is memorable and instantly lodges itself into the listener’s mind. The mathy “At This My Arm Was Weakened” follows, and somehow transforms itself into a post-punk song for the chorus. Finally, “Lights from Sovereign States” closes out The Raging Sun with quivering and barely audible vocals sung over a piano and other gentle sounds…a perfect conclusion which highlights the band’s stronger points.
Indeed, The Raging Sun sounds somewhat reminiscent of the some of the more recent Radiohead songs, but again, this similarity is likely only a slight nod to the influence of Radiohead, as Logh demonstates a willingness to approach music from a slightly different and creative angle than most rock bands do today. In the end, Logh’s experimentalism and attention to detail pays off with a handsome collection of songs the feature vividly conveyed emotion and genuinely musical moments. With the talent displayed throughout The Raging Sun, it is clear that Logh is a band to keep one’s eyes on…
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