How long has it been since you heard something that really blew you away? I’d imagine it’s a while, because it’s been at least couple of months since I have and I literally listen to music as a job. Well, if you have any semblance of taste, that will all change. Why? Because I have Feivel’s new EP, that goes by the deceptively simple name of ‘Walls’.
So, we don’t have someone singing ‘Somewhere Out There’ (a reference, I’m sure, that goes over, or under the heads of everyone reading this). Feivel is the stage name/band of the new Swedish star of my aural fantasies, Elin Hörberg. I could try to sum up the sound, but I don’t think I could do it outside of an essay. Just think of all the good parts of a high-quality singer/songwriter mixed with some exceptional pop sensibilities and you’ll have a vague idea of what I’m on about. So, why am I going so comparatively ape-shit about this EP?
I don’t know.
And I say that fully in the knowledge that it is literally my one job to know. People frequently call it the X-factor, but really, all they mean is what I’m saying: It’s great, but I don’t have the words to tell you why – As opposed to the X-Factor (TV show) where a depressing array of people dance like monkeys for the public, only to be forgotten about after they get the Christmas number one.
So, listen to Walls and while you listen, think about the words below these.
We open up with Almost Standing. A brilliant example of mastering the toughest fundamental in music – writing a chorus. Not just a chorus, though, in this track, everything is balanced perfectly. It’s a musical trail, which leads down a path, then a road, with the chorus at the end of that – the destination. It’s not just following the formula, it’s executing it perfectly in swelling harmonies and faultless musicality.
This is not mindless Nicki Minaj beach-going. There’s a lot of pop appeal here, but much more than just that. I see Feivel as Florence and the Machine, but not just doing a convincing cover act. From the first track and very little analysis, it’s as clear as day that this is the real deal – that Feivel isn’t just (as the rap people might say) Frontin’.
Vocally, I hear a lot of different things, from The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson (A.K.A Fever Ray) to flashes of Kate Bush (but not in an annoying way). When we break it down to a natural instrument and how she uses it, Elin is versatile and even if she’s not your cup of tea, undoubtedly interesting.
Home is a lot less anthemic than its predecessor, but I wouldn’t call that a criticism. It’s a change of pace. While the first track had its little electro influences and bellowing grandeur, this track is clean guitar and piano-dominated. Not to mention the fact that when it does swell, it arrives at a fucking horn section. From the get go, it’s intimate. There’s a vulnerability coming through in the vocal that is irrefutably beautiful. Again, it builds-up for a louder, larger finale, but it still fits.
House’s opening bars are just sweet. It’s an abhorrent word for a 25 year old man to have to use, but I can’t think of anything else. I get the feeling that the further we progress through this EP, the more the music deconstructs and the further we can glimpse into the real meaning behind these songs, but in reality, this is the apex of its simplicity. A sombre little piano ballad that plays nicely off the difference between house and home. It’s lonely, even sad, but far from depressing – and that’s another coup for the songwriting.
It speaks volumes to me about ‘being’ rather than ‘belonging’, but I could be reading way too far into it; my point is, that it elicited an emotion. How often does that happen? Of course, I’m asking that rhetorically, knowing that it’s infrequent at best – unless you consider partying an emotion, pop music is a wasteland of feeling and Feivel is an oasis.
Get My Way with You is one of the standout songs of the past year for me. This is a love song, but not in the classic sense. To sum-up Feivel’s own words about Get My Way with You – It’s about a one night stand; the kind of thing you get into knowing it won’t be ‘happily ever after’, but it still deserves some measure of the recognition your traditional love story would.
Most importantly, it’s one of the rarest things you’ll ever see – a song written with what I suspect is more than an element of truth and some genuine originality.
Where It Ends is where it ends. It’s lamentful, with images of ghosts, scars, and monsters throughout. What rings through about this track, like the whole EP before it, is that it just seems honest – like someone’s reaching out from inside themselves and showing you the very thing you know in your own way.
It’s that empathetic resonance that’s elevated this EP from well-composed to something I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I haven’t touched too much on the music itself, in the way of what each track sounds like, in the way I usually would. There’s a simple explanation for that – ‘Walls’ is original. ‘Walls’ is a breath of fresh air and I recommend everyone breathes deep.
‘Walls’ was released on April 22nd. Give it a listen and prepare to be impressed.