The Sign Records
Sweden is a fertile ground for American influenced rock music these days, and it’s not all the stereotypical black metal. Nephilia sounds like a good progressive rock band from 1970. There is a pair of female vocals (Stinta Olsson and Josephine Asker), a pair of guitarists (Jacob a Hellenrud and Anton Athley) and my favorite: the double umlauted drummer Johan Lööf. The music is bright, pop-fired classic rock. Just seven tracks here with 30 or so minutes of tunes, but all exciting. “White Bones” opens the entertainment with a drum and electric piano behinds a cleaner sounding, Janis Joplin-influenced vocal that covers several octaves. A track or two later we experience a gentle “Mushroom Creatures” with punchy vocals and an implicit trip to the REAL “Magic Kingdom,” but not the one with the mouse. It’s great being a musician, no one ever expects you to be ready to go before lunch or even dinner. A harder rock sound catches up with us in “Guidance to Agony.” By this track its clear the singers have some of the tightest harmony going since the Andrews Sisters. There’s stunning cover art as well, behind the cute goat-girl leaning on a sword I’ve discovered a moose, a cow, a trout and some poppies. There’s a lot to love here: great compositions, cool art, a high concept retro sounds and what looks like a solid future beyond this debut album. Pull out the aquavit and enjoy the ride.