Seval: 2 (2012)
The second release of the Swedish-American quintet Seval is as surprising as its debut, I Know You (482 Music, 2011). The eight songs, all penned by American cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, are still framed within a lyrical, acoustic- chamber setting. But now the quintet sounds as a working band comprised of equal partners, benefiting from few years of mutual experiences and many gigs around Europe, not as a one-off project led by the dominant Holm.
The shared experiences enable the quintet to take more risks in the context of art- meets-improvised jazz songs. The four Swedish members have more room to shine their unique gifts-the always versatile guitarist David Stackenäs, the thoughtful articulations of trumpeter Emil Strandberg, the solid, overall support of bassist Patric Thorman and, above all, the warm and beautiful vocals of Sofia Jernberg, who turns even the simple songs into dreamy, contemplative meditations and improvises with her vocals as if they were some kind of boundless instrument. Holm encompasses the songs with his imaginative cello work.
Few of the songs focus on personal relationship issues, whereas this was the topic of all the songs on the quintet's debut. On the best of these ones, "Light Brush," Jernberg's operatic vocals flirt sensually with Strandberg's lyrical trumpet while Holm's cello reflects a fragile dimension to the topic of troubled relationship. "Boredom is Bliss," inspired by French literary theorist Roland Barthes' essay, The Pleasure of the Text (1975), and is the most experimental song here, allowing Jerberg, Stackenäs and Holm to push the sonic envelope with risky, searching improvisations. Jernberg's vocal trills on the emotional "Only One," multiplied in the studio, calls for appropriate, soaring solos of her musical partners. "Revolution Song" is structured around a repeated catchy theme linked with dense and restless free improvised interludes, a blend that sounds inspired from the political songs of Robert Wyatt.
Seval's rich and nuanced songs call for attentive, repeated listening. Every new listening reveals more beautiful wonders.
Track Listing: Children of Monsters; Details; Simple Flowers; Light Brush; Boredom is Bliss; Only One; Revolution; Super-Seeded.
Personnel: Sofia Jernberg: voice; Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello; David Stackenäs: guitar; Emil Strandberg: trumpet; Patric Thorman: bass.
Record Label: 482 Music