The perfect winter soundtrack
For fans of the moody, swirling, atmospheric sounds of the early ’90s British shoegazer movement, the best news of late—after word of this summer’s reunion tour by Ride—is Picture You, the third album by the Swedish quintet the Amazing.
To the extent that the group is known in the States at all, it’s as a side project by Reine Fiske, the guitarist for Dungen. But just as the power of Ride is in the interplay between guitarists-vocalists Andy Bell and Mark Gardener, the Amazing is all about the collision of Fiske’s talents with those of co-band-leader Christoffer Gunrup, who sneers at anyone who deigns to characterize the results as “psychedelic.”
“I hate the word,” Gunrup says in the band’s bio. “I have no relation to psychedelic music or prog-rock. Reine likes that prog stuff, and he’s very good with sounds, so he would be the one to blame for that.”
Well, if psychedelia in the mode of Sgt. Pepper’s or San Francisco Summer of Love is what one associates with the term, Gunrup’s grousing is on point. But he readily admits his admiration for shoegazers like Ride, My Bloody Valentine, and the also reactivated Jesus and Mary Chain, and whiffs of pastoral, mid-period Pink Floyd (a la Atom Heart Mother and More), the early, idyllic, 12-strings-driven Genesis, and the syncopated eruptions of In the Court of the Crimson King also are undeniable in tunes such as “Fryshusfunk,” “Safe Island,” and “Circles.”
This is not to say that Picture You is overly derivative. The 10 tracks work to create a sustained, dreamscape built on Gundrup’s breathy vocals and the slippery interplay of the group’s three guitars, expansive keyboards, and deft rhythm section. Tune in, turn up your headphones, and be prepared to bliss out.
The Amazing, Picture You (PTKF)
Rating on the 4-star scale: 3.5 stars.