The Perishers play a very British-sounding brand of pop melancholia — glacial, hazy and very somber. But as it so happens, they’re a Swedish band, which might explain that extra chill in their songs. There’s hardly a single ray of sunlight on Let There Be Morning, and what is there is only peeking out from behind dark, billowing tufts of cumulus, not that you notice anyway, because if you’re listening to this record, there’s a very good chance that you’ve chosen to drown your sorrows in a pint of Guinness as well. And when you’re blubbering drunk, crying to the stone-faced older bloke next to you, you’ll find solace in The Perishers’ sad but lovely tunes.
The Perishers are, in a sense, like the girl you spot across the bar who’s drop-dead gorgeous, but seems to be permanently trapped in a frown. They play music that’s heart-achingly beautiful, but far from a good time. And yet, it’s a very ordinary, human kind of sadness. The album begins with “Weekends,” a stark, piano tune with lyrics of blue collar commuting. Singer Ola Klüft may only be saying, “On the weekends/we try to get our share/of excitement and fresh air/trying to forget/who we’re gonna be/when the alarm rings/on Monday morning,” but his plight of the humdrum monotony 9-to-5-ing sounds downright tragic. On “Sway,” the band sounds a lot like Brit popsters Keane or Travis, with a full-sounding, but subdued tune that could be a single, albeit a slow one.
Klüft’s everyman vocals seem to reach an artistic apex with “A Reminder,” where his musical globetrotting has taken him to Asbury Park, where he picks up the Boss’ earnest rasp. On the whole, however, I can’t help but be reminded of the underrated Swedish Brit-poppers Kent when listening to Let There Be Morning. The two bands have more than a passing resemblance, though while Kent had an obvious Radiohead and U2 fetish, The Perishers take cues from less dramatic sources. Both bands have an uncanny way of injecting pop music with a uniquely Scandinavian iciness that’s comforting, yet distant. And despite where you think this is going, they sound nothing like Sigur Ros. I just want to let that be on the record.
There are a handful of great singles here — “Sway,” “My Heart,” “Trouble Sleeping,” “Still Here” — but they seem to be only faint glimmers. Let There Be Morning sounds almost more like a musical document of Sweden’s omnipresent summer sunlight. It’s starkly beautiful, but unsettling. And by the end of the album, you can’t help but want to take a nap.
Kent – Isola
Travis – The Man Who
Eisley – Room Noises
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.