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A Catalogue of the Universe & LAD (Sweden) – Strange Goodbyes (single)

Hm. A very topical band name, what with the Webb telescope doing its thing, Moon shots left, right and centre, solar storms, evil aliens threatening to overrun the USA, the Comet is coming, ‘n all. Someone needs to keep a catalogue.

Reading between the spectral lines A Catalogue of the Universe is the songwriter and is from Umeå, about two-thirds of the way up Sweden on the right hand side, on the Gulf of Bothnia while LAD is the producer.

They are Therese and Leo who met randomly and found common ground with this single.

She likes to be known as ACOTU, which at least has more of a ring to it than the Brazilian President’s LULA and his Mexican counterpart’s AMLO.

Having started an a cappella group and a folk band at school she graduated from Scotland’s Perth College with a degree in popular music in 2011. I’d never heard of it. I need to sign up.

Then it took her a decade of doubt before releasing debut single ‘Waterworld’ in 2021 (I hope it was better appreciated than the film), followed by the EP ‘The Lightning Tracker’ in 2022.

LAD is a 17-year-old, well, lad, young enough to be ACOTU’s son, also from Umeå, influenced by Kygo and Avicii, who explores new genres like the Starship Enterprise explored new strange new worlds, and likes to deliver a tune. Melody is his thing.

‘Strange Goodbyes’ is the song that brought them together.

I’ll be honest, before I listened to this song I seriously wondered if it would work. Their backgrounds are chalk and cheese after all.

But as it happens it is one of the best songs I’ve heard all year.

Of particular note is the quality of ACOTU’s vocal. I can’t quite place her but artists like Alela Diane come to mind, and even Weyes Blood, albeit a couple of octaves lower.

His production is spot on, the synthesised contribution being restrained when required and ratcheted up when merited. (Perhaps it is a little too powerful towards the end when it drowns her voice out but that’s the only little grumble I have). The melody is simple but powerful.

The lyrics, simply about saying goodbye and the various emotions it can evoke, are so well put together that you could believe she was describing a scientific experiment at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

It references a poem, ‘Summer, Lake’ by Andrea Cohen, and I guess these are the lines:

“You can’t fish for light/she said, well you can but you have to throw it back/and I’ve never had a better way/to say I believe in this economy of borrowing”.

It might not be Shakespeare but it’s as close as you’ll come to it in most contemporary songwriting.

But what really stands her out from the crowd is her obscure, unconventional vocal phrasing, in which she often transfers the last word of a line into the first of the next one, with a pregnant pause between them.

Party tricks like that often don’t come off but work perfectly here, as if emphasising the hesitancy of the parting of the ways scenario:

“I can’t think of anything/

else we have to do”

I’ll put it on record here and now that I want to hear more. Album please. At the speed of light.

‘Strange Goodbyes’ is out since September 8th.

Find her on:



I can’t find any socials for LAD right now.

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