Pelle Carlberg use to front the Swedish band Edson, they put out three albums in the early 00’s. Carlberg decided to go it alone around 2005 and released his first solo record called Everything Now. The Edson records and his first solo disc were all fine records, but the songs just never jumped out and grabbed you the way great pop songs should. Sometimes it takes a band or artist a few albums to get going, hell Pulp‘s first four albums are pretty much totally forgettable.
It seems like Pelle Carlberg has finally come into his own. Mr. Carlberg’s second solo record, In a Nutshellwas released back in March on Labrador. It was preceded by the single I Love You, You Imbecile on which he sings with Ida Maria. The single is super catchy and kinda reminds me of Ciao!, the duet Lush did with Jarvis Cocker, or even Did You Ever by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, it has that kind of wry back and forth dialog.
After hearing the single I was still a little sceptical that the rest of the record would be a let down, but this cd has got staying power. It’s been criticized for sounding a bit to much like Belle and Sebastian, but B&S do not have a patent on pop songs that sound a bit precious and a lot catchy. Carlberg’s voice does have some resemblance to Stuart Murdoch’s, but the music has a broader palette. Crying all the way to the Pawnshop and I just called to Say I love both have a resemblance to the Go-Betweens, while Middleclass Kid and Showercream and Onions have a bit of Billy Bragg in them.
This record has got a great sense of humor as well, I touched you at the Sound Check recalls the story of meeting Mike Joyce at a club with Joyce bragging to people that he was in the Smiths. The hidden track Hit Song is a tongue in cheek Paint a Vulgar Picture in which Carlberg sings about being pressured by Labrador to write Grammy worthy song. This album is full of hit songs, and will surely be on my Grammy list for album of the year.
Pelle is going to be over for rare live appearances in North America, if you are in one of these cities, GO!
05/27 – NYC Popfest
05/29 – The Supermarket, Toronto, ONT
05/30 – Small’s, Detroit, MI
05/31 – Beachland Tavern, Cleveland, OH
06/01 – tba