Loney Dear, Bush Hall Feb 20th

About half way through a lovely set at the Bush Hall, Emil Svanangen, the founder and songwriter of Loney Dear, slips off his shoes. It’s not that he’s especially relaxed, simply that he needs more tactile and direct access to his array of bass pedals, loop station and sundry other pieces of sound altering equipment. Aided by these and a superb band (Susanna, Ole and Oscar) he takes us on a tour through some of the most recent album, Hall Music, and parts of his back catalogue. He’s in fine voice, and so is the audience, gamely singing parts or holding an F for the whole duration of one of his songs. Standout songs included “I was only going out” “Dear John” “Sinister in a state of hope” and, from the new one “Loney Blues” dispensed with early on but soaring on its lovely tune. He played a couple of songs on his own, throughout plucking away at a 12-string acoustic, treated in various ways. The songs are complex layers of sound with deceptively simple sounding melodies. Once in your head you can’t shake tunes like “I was only going out”. They begin softly and they end that way often; in the middle they are big epic melodies sung in a high keening voice. Orchestral, summery, multi-layered pop from Sweden with just enough hints of darkness and hurt to leaven what could otherwise sound whimsical. He is a major talent, a great songwriter and a skilled musician…
His well chosen support act, Young Dreams from Bergen, open the evening on a bright energetic note, playing 30 minutes to a nearly empty hall which gradually fills through their set. Lots of music has gone into their heady mix of beats and harmonies and they will go far I’m sure. Their enthusiasm is really infectious and I’m sure they’ve gained from travelling good company on this tour.
Ar the end of Loney Dear’s set Emil bids us farewell and promises to be back having finally enjoyed a London gig. There have been issues in the past apparently. But not tonight…
I think they’re off to the US next. So good luck with that Emil and co and yes come back soon…

Loney Dear, Bush Hall Feb 20th

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