For: Francois Virot, Shout Out Louds, The Kinks
Byline: Sunny, fuzzed out pop from Sweden. Stor!
You have to hand it to those Scandinavians, they are still trying. While American slacker-jangle-pop Kinks throwback bands have stopped trying to actually sound like they care about playing their instruments, burying subtle moves under wavves of static and for-the-jugular choruses, Swede Lars Ludvig Lofgren's lo-fi British-Invasion inspired pop-ramblers still sound like he still gives a cuss about actually making music. Running against the grain of his Scandinavian Classic rock revivalist peers, who carry the torch music would be if rock music actually sustained the exploration-based Blues of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. Dungen a logical step anyone? Instead of following that vein of classic rock Lofgren has decided to wander down the alley of Beatle-esque melodies and Kinks style drum-tight songwriting and arrangements filtered through the Lo-fi slacker pop of the late 00's.
This chosen aesthetic works decidedly well for his nasally, Francois Virot-like (minus that crazy-awesome whine that he does) vocals that recall fondly the brashness and those lovable British Invasion bands whose vocals were barely contained in the raucous sound of tinny guitars and shorting out amps. Heterochormia is relatively polite, however, sounding downright sunny at times, a perfect antidote for waiting for the bus in a glary, sub-zero winter day. "Opportunity Knocks" has the catchiest melody on the album, plus some killer descending chord guitar work on the chorus and a heart-warming guitar solo. "Across Your House" while thankfully never turning into those faux-folk front porch stompers that bands methodically contrive in order to sound "loose", has one of those shout-at-the-top-with-lump-in-your-throat of your lungs choruses that dive and then swell into complete revelry. There aren't too many records like this out there these days, straight across the board astute, proficient, and occasionally downright brilliant. If this came out a few years ago perhaps we could have side-stepped the attack of the clone lo-fi pop-punk bands that spawned seemingly overnight. Plus, this may be the best album cover of 2010 so far.