Sweden for over five decades has produced some of world’s finest artists and bands, and we’re not talking about ABBA or Robyn. In particular, the Swedish music scene has experienced a renaissance over the past decade with the likes of Lykke Li, Jens Lekman, José González, Fever Ray, First Aid Kit, The Tallest Man on Earth, Tove Lo, and many others leading the way. Evidence of this explosion is all the new music coming out of the Scandinavian country this past week with Makthaverskan and Wy releasing new albums. There is also another newcomer releasing her first EP, and it likely will fly under the radar. However, Linn Koch-Emmery‘s debut, Boys, should be on everyone’s daily mix.
While she has been described as a blend between Courtney Barnett and The Strokes, Koch-Emmery’s style is more of a mixture of early Warpaint and their anthemic pop-rock, the emphatic pop-rock of Black Honey, and the catchy guitar-pop of Alvvays. This combination will eventually result in the Norrköping native’s name headlining marquees and festival lineups, and Boys is the start of her journey.
Four songs occupy this quick 12-minute record, and each one is deliriously energetic. The EP commences with the fun and furious “Bby Nevermind”. As the catchy guitar riffs swirl in the air, Koch-Emmery’s cool vocals sing about starting a new chapter in one’s life. It’s the perfect song to play at the beginning of a long road trip to nowhere, as you lose yourself in the grandiose melody.
If “Bby Nevermind” doesn’t grab you at first, “Under the Sun” will cement your affection for her. The song demonstrates Koch-Emmery’s ability to create catchy, fuzzy guitar riffs coupled with delirious melodies that you will have you spinning like a tornado. Listen closely and you might catch a bit of Joan Jett in her sound and style. Her songwriting, too, is akin to the rock legend, as she’s not the type to crawl on her hands and knees and beg for someone to come back to her. Quite the opposite, it’ll be the other person begging for forgiveness.
Things slow down a little bit on “Little Feels”, which resonates of the pop-rock of the ’70s. It’s a gentle, body-swaying number that feels like the cool breeze off the Mediterranean on an October evening. Koch-Emmery’s vocals, too, are softer and more elegant, possessing a surprising bedroom intimacy. Her storytelling has a Stevie Nicks quality to it, as she recounts the pain of heartbreak but the exhilaration that a new life begins. She may be hurt, but she won’t let the end of a relationship stop her from living.
The closer, “Forever Sounds”, is another indie pop-rock gem. Koch-Emmery’s lush vocals explode out of the speakers. An assertiveness, however, percolates beneath the surface, giving the track a bit of fire and edge. This is the sound of a young woman’s confidence oozing out from the song, as if she is telling everyone, “I am here!” And as Koch-Emmery repeatedly says in the final minute, this number will be “always on my mind”. Heck, Linn Koch-Emmery’s name will forever be etched into our minds. She’ll be a star, and Boys is the first step towards this inevitability.
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