The Amazing: Gentle Stream (Subliminal/Southbound)

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The Amazing: International Hair
The Amazing: Gentle Stream (Subliminal/Southbound)

If you thought Sweden these days was all The Girl with a Bee in Her Bonnet and the killing sprees on Wallander, then The Amazing are here to reassure you that gentle psychedelic trip-rock with a folk edge is still there to let you lie down in the long grass . . . without the fear some psychokiller former-Nazi is lurking with a knife.

While they have a lovely pastoral feel in Christoffer Gunrup's gentle and light vocals and the airiness which blows through, these eight tracks are given weight and breadth by the gorgeously silvery guitar tones, the subtle presence of saxophone (like Astral Weeks conceived in '67 SanFran) and the flickering drumming to create a dreaminess which brings to mind Neil Halstead's equally lovely Sleeping on Roads.

There's an effortlessness at work here which just shifts the moods gently from one place to another, picked acoustic guitar is placed alongside the jazzy inflections, and distant backing vocals whisper like zephyrs on a summer's day.

They pick up a more brittle edge for Gone, but again its swirls seductively and pulls you in to a vortex of warm winds, slippery colours and off-kilter rhythms. The punching Dogs sounds just a little clunky in this context however, and be warned the gentle choral-like piece Assumption fades up slowly over the first minute.

When the Colours Change right at the end would have fitted neatly into one of those better pre-Dark Side Floyd albums (except it has better singing more akin to Sigur Ros). 

As far as I can tell The Amazing are a collective which pulls in sympathetic players. But whatever or whoever they are, it's hard to imagine there is a more benign, neo-psychedelic album out there right now.

Too smart to just be stoner music, but it'll work for that purpose too.

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