Songs For Quiet Souls
Sweden's John Alexander Ericson looks like he could be in Savage Garden, but
if his brand of moody pop has any Aussie lineage, it comes from arch gloom-poppers
The Church. For his solo debut, Ericson, erstwhile singer and songwriter for
The Northern Territories, cuts enormous swathes of icy, string-leaden atmospherics
and whittles them down into a dozen brooding pop numbers. Ericson sings like
a Scandinavian Thom Yorke -- his fragile, quavering voice is usually light and
mellifluous, but capable of swelling mightily when a little extra drama and
oomph are required, which is often.
"Vampires in Searchlights" is a near-perfect exercise in acoustic
pop despondency, with a "motherless we all are" lyric; the piano-kissed
"Microman" stretches out into an instrumental piece worthy of a tragic
art-house clip; "A World You'll Never Reach" is the stirring show-stopper,
complete with multi-tracked Ericsons and a backing kids' choir.
Pity Mr. Yorke: if he'd ever entertained notions of pulling an Ashcroft, splitting
with Radiohead and going solo with a big-screen vocal pop record, Songs for
Quiet Souls dashes 'em. Seems someone's beaten him to it.
-- Steve English