Is this a case of split personality? Ljug Aldrig is ‘Roosen’, a visual artist, singer and songwriter from Stockholm. Roosen holds a Fine Art Master’s degree from the Royal Academy in Copenhagen and has quite a history in the art world.
His political philosophy was shaped by a political group of left-wing anarchists who moved into the apartment next door during his troubled teenage years, also introducing him to literature and music. He started writing lyrics and singing, with guitar and synths, engineered a collaboration with musicians/producers Anton Toorell and Alex Zethson and in the spring of 2022 came his first release (as Ljug Aldrig, which translates as ‘Never Lie’) on the Zethson label.
His bands main influences are The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Iceage, and Roy Orbison; a rather eclectic mix.
‘Seashells’, which was written in 2007, features Swedish singer ‘Elliphant’ who has worked in support of the likes of Major Lazer and Diplo and their harmonies work surprisingly well, with and without technical manipulation.
There’s a clever little moment towards the end when the song audibly ‘flatlines’ as they sing of her inability to hold her breath long enough as she seeks the words to express her relationship to him.
His raw, guttural vocal style reminds of arch pseudo Yorkshire/Scottish anarchist Alex Rex (Alex Neilson, of Trembling Bells fame), while her almost ‘little girl’ style here could complement anyone.
Musically, the six and a half minute song takes you on a melodic journey that waxes and wanes in instrumentation, arrangement, content and intensity.
Unfortunately, without a lyric sheet I can’t do a deep dive into the meaning of the song. The PR offers that “It’s an explanation from one young person to another about the need to create, which seems stronger than duality” (I’m not sure what that means; what the difference is between creativity and duality). It continues, a little more helpfully, “One party feels that people are drawn to the beautiful, but leave (it) for the ugly. Although, paradoxically enough, they met precisely on those grounds.” So a singularity leads to a duality? I must get hold of those lyrics.
I often say this but it is a song that requires much more than a casual listen. I suggest you give it the once over, then ponder on philosophical dualities for a while why you have a smoke, and then come back to it again. There’s a lot going on here and you’ll appreciate it much more the second time around. And subsequently.
Oh, and as a bonus, the strings are provided by the excellent Hanna Ekström, who has appeared a couple of times in NMC this year (with Vera Vinter).
‘Seashells’ is yet another piece of high quality work from the Nordics that we really should be hearing on UK radio but unfortunately probably won’t. When I listen to the dross we get every day, some or other producer’s favourites, I yearn for the day when one of them will have the cojones to take a chance on something like this.
‘Seashells’ is released on 30th December by thanatosis production.
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