Review of Kleerup's self-titled album.
In much the same way that I only ever really eat a slice of cake because I like the freakin' icing, (a cake without icing is simply not a cake) I would only ever really keep on listening to Kleerup because I am engrossed by the sound of Lykke Li's voice. Oh, and one other, very similar reason: I am also engrossed by the sound of Robyn's voice.
To highlight the tracks in questions, 'Until We Bleed', with Lykke Li is a downbeat and crackling song noir, laden with doomy references to fatal drugs, a gun-toting Cupid and the need to be drunk when it all gets too much. Lykke Li's voice is at its husky, vulnerable best; laconic but excessively emotive. She's one of those singers that could most likely read the ingredients list off a packet of organic muesli and still wrench a tear from your ducts.
Talking of tears, Robyn and Kleerup's collaboration, 'With Every Heartbeat' is devastatingly rousing. The energy builds and builds, new synth noises seep into the mix, and give way to a romantic string breakdown. If this doesn't melt you, nothing will. You are made of stone.
In fact, all of the stand-out tracks on the albums are the ones in which Kleerup has drafted in a strong female singer to take on the vocal duties (including Neneh Cherry's sister Tityo, who sings on 'Longing For Lullabies'). The bits in between are just that: bits in between. Make a cup of coffee, drink the coffee, chuck the cup back at the sink, walk back in the room and hope there's another vocal track on. Too much of that in between stuff and Kleerup will have you looking for the button panel, in a desperate attempt to get out of the elevator.
There is, however, one standout track that doesn't require the lungs of a hearty Swedish woman to make it work. 'Ain't No Stopping', with all its vocodered gloopiness is a great dance track. It is mind-cavingly repetitive, peppered with a coked-up arpeggiated synth and features a creepy snare sound that makes you feel like someone's creeping up behind you. What more could one want from a single track?
Kleerup sounds like a work in progress, or maybe they forgot to leave off the unwanted tracks when they sent it to the pressing plant. Either way, this could do with shedding nearly half of its tracks. Or he could just get Lykke Li to read out some ingredients over the in between bits.