Alternative Rock Review

Celophane Flower - 'Too Good To Be Famous' (2002)

Unlike most Swedish bands in love with Garage Rock or Death Metal, Celophane Flower are more likely to be found worshiping Country and Folk Rock. It makes a change from the highly charged Swedish scene, offering some good ol'fashioned Country-Rock to the equation.

The band are Jim Bragde, Andy Hansson, PO Svensson, Jenny Boman and Davy Wickstroem and recorded in Flower Studios. The actual CD has an excellent booklet with photos of each band member and quotes on each page with comments like "The tracks on "Too Good To Be Famous" fit together like puzzle pieces each lending a greater view of the conceptual canvas but listeners may never be able to finish the picture." Now I can't pretend to understand what that means, but the booklet is an interest read regardless! I also liked the slogan "Probably the most important band in the world" on the back CD cover -showing the band have total confidence in their abilities.

Right, enough talk about the packaging, what about the content? Let's see, the opening 'As Beautiful As You Are' has a dreaming acoustic quality with distinctive vocals, and 'Roots Gone' is an infectious stab at alternative rock-lite. I think 'Betrayal' works even better, the tempo slowed down to a crawl with soothing vocals and a country tinge - and as a normal Country-Music hater, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the track. 'Billy Jim Bobs Blues' is even more Country N'Western influenced, but a childhood running away from bangos and hicks, I can't offer a valid judgement on the genre. My favourite track 'Bourbon Dreams' displays a mature sense of melody and the uplifting chorus is an obvious highlight. 'Loved Alone' reminds me of early-REM, an understated mood piece, and I especially like the vocal performance by P Svensson. There's also a spoken word segment by Hisayo Nakayama that fits in nicely without causing distraction.

Looking at the writing credits, the band divide songwriting and vocal duties - this may come across as unfocused, but it offers a variety in styles and moods. Amongst my favourites tracks, the aforementioned P Svensson is a worthy talent, both 'Roots Gone' and 'Loved Alone' were his songs and are easy highlights.
Despite containing too many Country influenced tracks for my taste, I can return to the 5 or 6 songs that impress me with the haunting and melancholic nature. So, in summary, fans of the Lemonhead's country flavoured moments will feel right at home with "Too Good To Be Famous". Me? - I'm off to listen to some Slayer.

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