Overlooked Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden a Spring Must!

6 May

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The sound of Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden isn’t the easiest to describe.

It’s tempting to say that the band is part of the current trend of neofolk groups, such as Of Monsters and Men or the Lumineers. But even if you think Tucker’s voice is vaguely reminiscent of, perhaps, Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdøttir, of Of Monsters and Men, that’s where the similarities end.

Tucker’s compositions are often driven by rock rhythms and pulsing bass lines and feature the jangly guitars that are more closely related to an indie rock band such as Real Estate. Oh, and one more thing — Tucker and her compatriots are not Swedish. She hails originally from Seattle and now is part of the music scene in Nashville, Tennessee. That’s not even close to Stockholm!

So how to describe the latest release — The Shape The Color The Feel — from Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden? The album’s catchy melodies jangle and the arrangements paint bright, panoramic soundscapes that would be perfect for a soundtrack from one of the many 20-something television dramas today. Which brings me to a side note: once the album was completed, the band turned the songs over to eight independent filmmakers to create short film vignettes for each of the tracks. I told you the music was cinematic!

Tucker’s gentle, girlish vocals work well throughout the album, whether they’re wrapped in rock or pop packaging. The Shape The Color The Feel opens with an airy, uplifting tune called “Hangover.” Ringing, reverbed guitars create a wall of sound — and a dynamic drum track combines to make this one of the most memorable singles of 2014.

The song that has to-date received the most attention on music services such as SoundCloud is “Looking Around.” This track features some great shifts in tone — from light and airy with sparkling synths to fuller and more urgent. After a false ending, there’s a shimmering trail-out that segues into the next track, “Let Me Go.”

“Best Friend’s Love” is an excellent example of what Tucker’s marvelous voice can bring to a sweet love ballad. “The State I’m In” is the album’s only acoustic track that ventures anywhere near trendy indie folk territory, with fingerpicked acoustic guitar as a nice counterpoint to Tucker’s earnest, quivering vocals.

Finally, “Island of the Misfit” closes the set with an outstanding indie-pop anthem that includes march-like rhythms and big jangly guitars.

For some reason, The Shape The Color The Feel hasn’t caught the attention of the mainstream. Yet. To even make the project happen, the band turned to Kickstarter to help raise the $20,000 it needed.

But now that the album is out, hopefully it will get the airplay it deserves. I can tell you this much — if you haven’t heard Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden yet, you’re in for a real treat.

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