❉ The MORE story goes on with this emotional rollercoaster journey, writes Ange Chan.
In August this year, MORE, the synthpop sensation from Sweden, issued their first release; EPONE, to critical acclaim; since then I’ve waited patiently with great anticipation for their debut album. Thankfully the wait wasn’t protracted, and I can report that Mattias, Lino and singer/songwriter Magnus have struck gold yet again with their debut album From the Past. I confidently predicted back in the Summer, MORE were going to be a band to take notice of, and I wasn’t wrong.
The album was recorded in Studio Uttervik, which is south of Stockholm, but was in parts also recorded in both Magnus’ and Linos’ home setting. The album’s artwork is the final creative output from Mattais; it’s a process that all the band are involved in with Mattias adding his magic to the final product.
The album opens with the ironically titled The End which is lyrically intriguing, and succinctly delivers the inevitability of the source of a lot of relationships; first joy, like turning into lust and into love, positivity and then sadly when it turns sour, the negativity, pain and heartache it brings. Lead singer Magnus said, “The album’s narrative goes from troublesome love junkie, to the doubting human. The flow of the album takes a deep dive into broken hearts, politics, and sentimental hopefulness. The title of the album From the Past gives the listener a musical journey of the past decade as well as a glimpse of the future. A crooked journey of the constant melancholic and romantic fool.”
It’s musically complex with layer upon layer of intricate synth basslines and is reminiscent of something from the era of Construction Time Again by Depeche Mode. It’s a great opening track which leads onto Constant Loop, a song delivering the theme of ‘separate in distance but close in hearts’. It’s a danceable tune which delivers the musicality of a much more established band due to the complexities of the composition.
Track 3, Legacy of K sings about the beauty of finding a partner in a sea full of people ‘we are floating in the emptiness of space… where we both collide’. The next track is almost an extension of the previous one. Sentimental Sounds was released as a single in early 2020 and featured on the EPONE release a few months ago.
Moving onto The Common we’re treated to a tush-swaying, funky baseline which sings of the feelings of displacement and longing when you’re missing that special long-distanced person, and how you fill you time to stop the yearning and hopelessness of the situation ‘all we possess turns into dust with no address’.
The track Multiplied Lies sings of media reporting which often concentrates on the sensationalist lies and justifying relationships in their own media-centric mind. It tells of the more important things in the world to be concentrating on in life, rather than in contrast the transient nature of celebrity. Musically it reminded me of Everything Counts by Depeche Mode, and even borrows the line ‘in large amounts’.
My favourite track on the album is The Story Goes On which was also on the EPONE release and was released as a single in May 2020. Its pounding beats are compelling and lyrically its en pointe yet again singing about relationships but this time the story has progressed; this time it’s relationships between a family and a lover, and the emotionally taxing feelings of finding themselves deep in the sea of love and how that can be painful dealing emotionally with finding your soulmate, but having a family who relies on you also. My thoughts immediately turned to Ian Curtis of Joy Division and the pain and anguish he must have been experiencing towards the end of his life. More on that later…
The next track is One Lap which asks where we go to emotionally when a relationship ends from someone who was ‘my only friend’. Lyrically, the words seem to suggest that a mistake has been made; Every time we go down that road, there’s always something calling me home. It deals with the conflicting feelings of trying to end things with a lover but feeling bereft at the same time. The story continues into Blank Line which laments that something’s missing and pondering on the thought of who will be there to catch you when you fall, when you’re lonely, depressed and so done with life and its complexities, wishing your soulmate would return into your arms and make it all better.
The penultimate song continues with the issues of the complex emotional feelings of utter depression when you’re feeling that you’ve let everyone down, due to your actions. You’re feeling physically and emotionally bereft and unaccepting of the thought that your lover has ended it all; ‘I don’t want to die alone, there’s only one way to go, down to the bottomless low’. Despite the gloomy nature of the lyrics the album doesn’t leave you feeling low, more insightful as a voyeur looking into an emotional journey. Musically, it’s mature and accomplished dealing with the themes it tackles in a pragmatic way.
We’re finally taken to the last track of the album Macclesfield, which is almost certainly about Ian Curtis, making the lyrics of the previous songs make complete sense. It’s the darkest track on the album and is a metaphor for the final tragic scene; a suicide. ‘I’m a fool on Lover’s Street’ sings Magnus, with lamenting lyrics reflecting on how behaviours could have been different, given their time over again but in reality faced with the circumstance, that they wouldn’t actually change a thing. ‘I can’t explain where it went wrong… I’ll take the blame’. The final dark synth sounds of the song are a sad metaphor for the end of life.
The band said, “Macclesfield has a special place in our hearts. The song could be about Ian Curtis during the last times of his life or could be applied to ordinary people facing real obstacles and problems. Macclesfield has always been the working title of the song and we hope that the listener will enjoy and take comfort in it”.
The album takes you on an emotional rollercoaster through synthpop, but you need to listen to the lyrics to understand the true intent of the journey. It’s a brilliant concept for an album to tackle such a familiar theme, wrapped up in a public tragedy, and gets you thinking about the impossible situations we can find ourselves in life, without intending to do so.
I asked the band which are their own personal favourite tracks, and they told me it’s between Macclesfield, Sentimental Sounds and Legacy of K. “Each track on the album are like our babies of which we are very proud”, they explained. “We hope they will grow up and get their own lives and homes in the listener’s happy-centra!”
Although the band enjoy being in the studio, where they can allow their creative juices to flow, they are very much looking forward to meeting their audience from around the world. They hope to get some live performances in as soon as the world allows them to do that. Personally, I can’t wait!
❉ MORE – ‘From The Past’ releases December 11, 2020 as a Digital Album streaming via Bandcamp and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. To find out more about MORE: Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp
❉ Ange Chan is a freelance writer, having produced two novels and six volumes of poetry. She was also prolific contributor in the anthology collection Me and the Starman (now available by Cult Ink on Amazon) and is a lifelong lover of music, having first been published in the 1980s music press. As well as being a frequent contributor to the pop culture website We Are Cult, she is also working on a long-standing project, her third novel Champagne Flutes and Pixie Boots, which she wonders will ever get finished.