Magic Marker

Heikki is a band that thrives on accents; from the endearing Swedish diction of Maria Eriksson and her back-up vocalists to the tinges of alt. country, AM rock and electro Jari Haapalainen adds to pop song structures. As reliable as Swedish pop has become these last few years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 2 is a nearly unmitigated success. Eriksson and Haapalainen hail from The Concretes and The Bear Quartet, respectively, and the effortlessness of this release is largely thanks to years of perfecting their skills in those outfits.

Like the great Mojave 3, Heikki has an uncanny ability to channel ’60s California pop through a distinctly European lens. It’s the kind of situation where windswept, optimistic rhythms belie tales of abandonment, disappointment and various other relationship failures. Depending on how adept a listener is with one-tracking their mind, they can either revel in the sunshine melodies or wallow in the pathos just below the surface.

The disc has a handful of great driving songs, with “Still You Don’t Know Me” topping the list, riding on a bouncing melodica melody. “Lovely Hands” squeezes in regional folk ambience between wandering bars of shambolic, bayou chaos. “Tonight” is rife with cosmopolitan cool, thanks to dark-hued echoes of guitar and slinky horns. Ignoring the two bonus tracks — and it really is a shame to do so — this song closes out the disc with quiet acquiescence, fading out into the night with the hopes that if things work out tonight, they’ll stay that way in the morning.

Magic Marker: www.magicmarkerrecords.com

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