Swedish indie rock band Melby soar and stir on their stunning, psych-soaked sophomore album ‘Looks like a map,’ a radiant inner and outer journey brimming with passion, emotion, color, and catharsis.
Stream: “Hammers” – Melby
For some artists, the pandemic was a time to dive inward and focus on music’s hushed, softer sides; meanwhile, others took it as a welcome opportunity to spend time experimenting, ultimately exploding out in several directions all at once. And then there are bands like Melby, who somehow managed to employ both of these approaches together and simultaneously. The Swedish indie rock band soar and stir on their stunning, psych-soaked sophomore album Looks like a map, a radiant inner and outer journey brimming with passion, energy, and intimate emotion.
Yellow and white lines
On the ground below me
I can barely see them
they are frozen over
All the small houses
The whole town is made up of them
One for each family
one in each name
And I have seen them
in the dirt
they are so good
at hitting where it hurts
Released October 21, 2022 via Rama Lama Records, Looks like a map is as much an escape as it is an indulgence. The follow-up to Melby’s 2019 debut album None of this makes me worry sees the Stockholm band of Matilda Wiezell, Are Engen Steinsholm, David Jehrlander, and Teo Jernkvist creating a musical environment fit for connection and catharsis: One that encourages its listeners to relax and unravel, introspect and open up. Inhabiting the grey area where indie rock and psychedelic pop collide, Looks like a map is, at its heart, a soundtrack to self-discovery.
“We started recording it in the summer of 2020. With no shows booked and the pandemic still going strong, we thought that it would feel good to just take the time to record instead,” Melby’s frontwoman Matilda Wiezell tells Atwood Magazine. “Many of the songs were just demos that we hadn’t tried to rehearse together yet, so we had the ability to just build from scratch with sounds, layers and musical landscapes. I think we wanted to try and see how far we dared to go with the sounds, not knowing how we would make that possible in a live situation. It’s a truly creative album in that sense, we really painted pictures with this one.”
“I think it introduces us pretty well, at least with how we would like to sound all the time,” she laughs. “Live, it’s always more rough, and a bit more stripped down.”
The album’s title comes from the lyrics to the opening track “Hammers,” whose driving beats and lush synths set a stormy, seductive tone for all that’s to come. “Thinking about the record (imagine zooming out), it’s like the different songs look like different countries, each one with their own landscape,” Wiezell says. “Maybe I mean that it’s a bit scattered, sound-wise. We wanted to carry each song in their right direction.”
Lonely city, it’s anonymous delight
Few high-rise windows
Glowing softly thru the night
Is it late it’s not too late it’s not too late to start again
Out n try
Something supreme a different view
Trees and gardens in full bloom
Could be ours but not too soon
It’s your life could be your life be any life we dream to see
Provincial town, transition to
Something supreme a different view
Any life you dream to live
– “Tuesday,” Melby
Wiezell is right in that each of these eleven songs has its own distinct character and flavor, but that’s not to their detriment;
in fact, it’s that technicolor goodness that makes Melby’s music so alluring and endlessly exciting in the first place. From the heavier weight and warmth of “Old Life” and the angular charm of “Magic,” to the gently smoldering standout “Music Should Feel,” the enchanting, lush, and layered “Concorde,” the beautifully melancholic “Tuesday,” and the silvery, sweetly soothing “Waiting Game,” Looks like a map is utterly immersive and full of little wonders: Those small, but impactful musical decisions that elevate a song and keep us coming back again and again, time after time.
As far as highlights are concerned, Wiezell denies having a single sole favorite – “it will probably change over time,” she admits – but she’s quick to highlight the lyrics of “Concorde” as a point of personal pride. “I wrote it fast on command in the studio,” she smiles. “A proudly productive moment in life!”
Shake hands let’s seal the deal to let them cope with the shit
Sell out sell all you’ve got, now they’ll get used to it
And so you got it made
You bought your house by the sea
Now there’s enough to spend your way to anything
And so you got your maid
To cook your meals and to clean
Now there’s a nice routine
For everything you need
There’s your reset and here’s my card
So here’s your seat, a small reward
Cause you’re worth it, you worked so hard
And you got brains to plan it all
– “Concorde,” Melby
Looks like a map welcomes its listeners to get lost within its wondrous, textured, emotionally nuanced folds. Every song is ripe for reflection and discovery, but ultimately this is an album intended to be heard in full from start to finish: It’s when they’re heard as one whole dazzling experience that these songs truly shine their brightest. By the time Melby conclude with the buoyant and sprightly “Other Nations,” the only thing left to do is flip the proverbial record over and play it again.
“I think we take away that it’s hard work to make a record this detailed,” Wiezell shares, “But it was fun!” Listen to the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Melby’s Looks Like a Map with Atwood Magazine as Matilda Wiezell goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s sophomore album!
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Stream: ‘Looks Like a Map’ – Melby
:: Inside Looks Like a Map ::
A song about a place that feels limited, somewhere to break free from. Maybe about someones hometown.
This one is about when things feels a bit off in a relationship, could it be the end or something else? How do we communicate without words?
Another one about leaving things behind, to find something new.
A song about time and aging, about control and the inability to keep it.
The lyrics paints the picture of someone selling out, and then choosing a highly luxurious lifestyle. It has an ironic undertone to it I guess, with the phrase “cause you’re worth it, you worked so hard, and you’ve got brains to plan it all.”
A song about solitude. Living in the suburb, taking a stroll and dreaming about the countryside.
This one is about having a boss you hate, who tries to manipulate you into thinking like him. But of course you’re a rebel and you know better.
Music Should Feel
It’s about love and loss, intimacy and emotional healing. Don’t it always seem to go, that you dont know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Actually don’t know what this one is about. Maybe freaking out or taking a trip.
Another relationshippy song, feelings under the surface like a volcano slowly erupting.
The alchemy song! Going crazy and falling into another world.
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