It’s hard to determine what is the most amazing aspect of Kent’s stateside debut. The album itself is a portrait of jaw-dropping musical beauty that bears resemblance to the likes of Radiohead, Catherine Wheel, U2, adorable, and The Cure. Then there’s the lyrics, which resonate with image rich poetry despite being written and sung in English for the first time instead of in the band’s native Swedish.

Possibly the most amazing thing is that no one slapped them around earlier and told them to release something in the United States immediately. It’s unfortunate, but at least we didn’t know yet what we were missing.

Kent deals in swirling guitars and otherworldly sounds that can envelope the listener in an atmospheric haze similar to the way Lush and My Bloody Valentine’s music did. But Kent retains a pop element throughout their music that inspires little things like the drop-dead harmonies and the sing-songy choruses.

If the gods of musical justice are fair ones (and we know they usually aren’t), Kent deserve much more acclaim and recognition than fellow Swedes the Cardigans. This twelve-song album has more great songs on it than some bands produce in a career. Simply put, this was one of the best albums released in 1998.

For starters, however, sit in a quiet room with some good speakers and listen to the bliss of “Things She Said,” “Celsius,” “Before It All Ends,” and the epic “747.”

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