wears the trousers magazine


lisa o piu: when this was the future (2009)
September 7, 2009, 6:55 am
Filed under: album, review, video | Tags: , , ,

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Lisa O Piu
When This Was The Future •••
Subliminal Sounds

Lisa Isaksson is the frontwoman for Sweden’s Lisa O Piu (very roughly translated as ‘Lisa, and then some’), and she has tread a wholesome musical path since growing up in a small town on the outskirts of Stockholm. From finding an old guitar in her attic to her early experiments with a four-track recorder on solo effort Cantering (available in an extremely limited edition of 30 copies) to performing to friends, it seems only natural that she has ended up where she is, recording a debut album in a remote cottage with a band made up from school friends. It’s no wonder then, that said album When This Was The Future is as close to nature as you could imagine, evoking pristine rural simplicity and woodland mysticism. Piu are no innocents though – the album is produced by the highly respected Matthias Gustavsson (of Dungen) and Isaksson herself has performed with the British folk idol Roger Wootton of ’70s acid-folk legends Comus.

The timing of When This Was The Future is possibly a little late to be considered a part of the psych-folk revival and isn’t weird enough to be part of New Weird Whatever. Perhaps it would have been more fitting way back in 1967 rather than 2009. The influences are definitely at least 30 years old, such as Linda Perhacs (evoked heavily in the track ‘Cinnamon Sea’, one of the album’s stronger tracks). There is definitely unity here, almost to the extent where all the tracks sound much alike, often verging dangerously on New Age relaxation tape territory. Vocally, Isaksson is sparsely ethereal and gentle, with moments of country twang and beautiful Joni Mitchell purity. She is, by her own admission, obsessed with horses (her early lyrics were born from her horse drawings and she dreamt of being a riding teacher). However, wild stampeding certainly isn’t in evidence here; each track is low-key, gentle and flowing, interspersed with flute intervals, hippy nuances and harmonies, possibly aimed at down time after all the dancing around the fire is over.

It’s difficult to tell if most of the effort has gone into making an ‘authentic’ sound or if Lisa O Piu really are being genuine; regardless, Isaksson’s songwriting is defiantly unaffected by genres past and present. This could be the reason for the lack of tuneful hooks, which would certainly improve the overall sound of this album. But as a first-step whole, and taken individually, the songs stand up okay. Sadly, none are masterpieces.

Stephanie Heney
UK release date: 26/10/09; www.myspace.com/lisaolillportan

 

‘The Party’

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