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The Concretes

by The Concretes
Joining the nail-bitten charm of the Jesus & Mary Chain with the haunting thrill of Mazzy Star, the Concretes have arrived at a sound that's both cozily familiar and altogether new. This troupe of Swedes, who number eight at their core but swell to include an additional dozen on stage, draw on the


Joining the nail-bitten charm of the Jesus & Mary Chain with the haunting thrill of Mazzy Star, the Concretes have arrived at a sound that's both cozily familiar and altogether new. This troupe of Swedes, who number eight at their core but swell to include an additional dozen on stage, draw on the girl-group productions of Phil Spector and the rubbed-raw sound of the Velvet Underground, but also suggest the mini-orchestra arrangements of more recent acts such as the Flaming Lips and Spiritualized. Indie-pop aficionados will link Stockholm's latest sweethearts to a tradition that includes the Primitives, Black Tambourine, and Velocity Girl. Led by the winsome coos of Victoria Bergsman, the Concretes pair a throbbing bass line with chirpy organ playing, bright handclaps, and a peppy horn section on the rousing "You Can't Hurry Love" (related only spiritually to the Supremes hit). Even with titles like this and "Diana Ross," it's the off-kilter beauty of Nico that Bergsman's voice recalls -- especially on the eerie ballad "Chico," which offers up Velvets-y bells and a moaning guitar line along with a music shop's worth of accompaniment. Bergsman sounds especially vulnerable on the spare, piano-led "Foreign Country," but these moments of darkness are matched two-for-one by high-energy tunes like the buzzing toe-tapper "Lovin Kind" and the escalating "Say Something New." Despite their weighty title, the Concretes soar on this exquisite and memorable debut.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
Four years after their wonderful EP collection Boy, You Better Run Now was released by the star-crossed indie imprint Up Records (whose founder, Chris Takino, died of leukemia shortly after Boy, You Better Run Now's release), the Concretes return with The Concretes, their proper full-length debut and first album for Astralwerks. Because of the somewhat dodgy distribution of the singles and EPs that came after Boy, You Better Run Now, The Concretes might sound like even more of a departure from the band's early work to stateside Concretes fans. The spare, spry indie pop of the group's first releases has been replaced by a sugar-coma maximalism, overflowing with horns, strings, harps, and mandolins. "You Can't Hurry Love" and "Diana Ross" -- a relentlessly sweet and more than slightly druggy-sounding song about the diva's hit "Love Hangover" that actually approximates a love hangover more than Ross' song ever did -- suggest a Supremes fetish, while "New Friend"'s foggy, chiming charm nods to the Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning." Actually, Motown lushness meets Velvets narcotic calm is a fairly apt summary of The Concretes' aesthetic, and when it works, it really works. Along with the previously mentioned songs, "Warm Night" is another triumph, with romantically vague lyrics ("I follow you down on this warm night/Down to a certain colour") that sound like they've been translated from an Old World love song, and shimmering mandolins that are oddly reminiscent of "Somewhere My Love" from Doctor Zhivago. "Seems Fine" also has the perfect balance of a big pop sound and the catchy songwriting to back it up. However, The Concretes' massive arrangements -- which really shouldn't come as a surprise, considering that the band's regular lineup is eight members strong, and swells to 20 when all the "honorary Concretes" are counted -- can tend to overpower slighter, less-structured songs like "Lovin Kind" and "Lonely As Can Be." Victoria Bergsman's artless, aloof vocals balance out the album's hyperactive sonics and are the main link to the band's old sound. In some ways, Boy, You Better Run Now's startling, starkly pretty pop is still more striking than The Concretes' glossy pocket symphonies. But even though this album lacks some of the unpredictable energy of the band's early work, there might be more cause for concern if the Concretes still sounded exactly the same as they did four years ago. For the most part, though, the band has simply traded one kind of beauty for another, and even if The Concretes is slightly disappointing in some aspects, it also has more than enough charms in its own right.
Rolling Stone - Jenny Eliscu
The Concretes' big orchestration and sweet fragility are a winning combo.

Product Details

Release Date:


  1. Say Something New
  2. You Can't Hurry Love
  3. Chico
  4. New Friend
  5. Diana Ross
  6. Warm Night
  7. Foreign Country
  8. Seems Fine
  9. Lovin Kind
  10. Lonely As Can Be
  11. This One's for You

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Concretes   Primary Artist
Malte Holmberg   Background Vocals,Group Member
Nicolai Dunger   Background Vocals,Group Member
Tomas Hallonsten   Piano,Group Member
Jari Haapalainen   Mandolin,Percussion,Group Member
Victoria Bergsman   Group Member
Maria Eriksson   Group Member
Ulrik Karlsson   Group Member
Lisa Milberg   Group Member
Per Nystrom   Group Member
Daniel Varjo   Group Member
Ludvig Rylander   Group Member
Erik Bünger   Background Vocals,Group Member
Martin Hansson   Group Member
Christian Hörgren   Cello,Group Member
Irene Kastner   Harp,Group Member
Petter Nyhlin   Background Vocals,Group Member
Anne Pajunen   Viola,Group Member
Thomas Ringquist   Viola,Group Member
Anna Rodell   Violin,Group Member
Jonna Sandell   Violin,Group Member

Technical Credits

Christoffer Lundquist   Engineer
Concretes   Composer
Björn Hansell   Engineer
Victoria Bergsman   Composer
Jari Gaapalainen   Producer,Engineer
Christian Hörgren   String Arrangements
Christopher Roth   Engineer
Per Wikström   Engineer

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