Album Reviews

Celestial: Crystal Heights [Album Review]

Celestial

Oh yes, now Celestial has several traits of the typical Swedish pop band. There’s the lovely indie pop guitar sound that shows The Smiths as a key influence. There’s the bouncy, yet emotive vocals—here female fronted. (That woman is Malin Dahlberg, perhaps more well known for her work in Douglas Music and Laurel Music.) And, it sounds like Swedish pop, a sub genre that sometimes can be fairly homogeneous.

Crystal Heights is Celestial’s latest endeavor, here as a split release between labels Music Is My Girlfriend and Lavender Recordings. There’s not really too much to delve into—as I said, Swedish pop sometimes has the ability to sound like the rest of Swedish pop. Celestial, however, is lo-fi compared to something you’d find on, say, a Labrador Records.

The smooth echoes in guitar and vocal parts, though, can be related to artists like Acid House Kings or, even moreso, The Penny Century (with similarities both in song structure and lead vocalist). Songs like “Warm Against The Cold” are prime examples of these commonalities.

Hit the fourth song and you’re in for a surprise—“Love Always Comes To Those Who Waits” [sic] switches vocalist gender to male. But they’re right back to the female vocalist on the next song, the title track. Dahlberg’s vocals are a key strength in Celestial’s music—they meld wonderfully with the group’s dreamy nature.

As a pop album, Crystal Heights is solid. It’s what to expect from a Swedish pop artist dabbling in a familiar twee-like sound—starry-eyed vocals and jangle-y guitars. Further influences, not surprisingly, are The Field Mice and Sarah Records, and you can hear it throughout Crystal Heights.

Celestial and their second album in a snapshot? Let’s see… It’s lovable. It’s bouncy. It’s fun. What more could you ask for?

Celestial: Crystal Heights [mp3]

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Crystal Heights by Celestial

Music Is My Girlfriend / Lavender Recordings [CD, 2008]

1. Preston Park
2. Warm Against The Cold
3. Forever Whispers Secrets To Me
4. Love Always Comes To Those Who Waits
5. Crystal Heights
6. How Does It Feel?
7. Lonely Boulevard
8. Try To Understand
9. Hope, You Know

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