June 2006

The Celophane Flower

Review: Brett Hooton

4/5: Sweden’s folk-rock veterans, The Celophane Flower, present In: Their Best Album So Far, a dreamy, melodious record that’s guaranteed to chase your worries away.

The Celophane Flowers may be one of the best kept secrets of the folk-rock world. This Swedish quartet first came together in 1991, and since that time has put out a string of strong albums. Despite becoming something of a critical favorite in Europe, their music has not received the same amount of attention in North America. Now, with the release of In: Their Best Album So Far, (Flowerproductions) they appear poised to cross The Pond once and for all. The new album exudes a rich, clean sound to compliment thoughtful, easygoing songwriting. The writing/singing combination of Jimmy Bragde and Anders Hansson balance short, catchy love songs with longer meditations on the search for one’s place in the world. A warm, earthy acoustic guitar strum frequently provides the foundation for each track. Then, the band slowly heaps on beautiful vocal harmonies and unexpected instruments such as violin, cello, French Horn, and even the bagpipes, in addition to the more traditional banjo, bass, and slide guitar. “Wishing You Well” opens the collection, setting a wistful, blurry-eyed scene from which the tracks grow increasingly focused, both musically and lyrically. “Now That I Found Myself” is the most richly orchestrated cut, adding a light, fluttering flute, an airy reverb effect on the vocals, and what sounds like the lush vibrations of timpani drums. Finally, there is the country gallop of “2:am.” This song picks up the tempo and rounds out the album with a radio-friendly ditty that feels like the perfect soundtrack for late summer nights spent on the porch laughing and singing with friends. For some listeners, however, this record might be a little too moody. The music can be dark and meticulous, and this may cause some people to assign this disc to the shelf until a particularly hard day calls it back into the musical rotation. But you will find yourself returning to this album again and again. Because The Celophane Flower’s melodies not only stick in your head from the very first listen, but also possess an innately uplifting power that will wash over you like a warm breeze.