Thursday, April 21, 2011

Play It Again: Abramis Brama - Nothing Changes

Because of my recent acquisition of a new computer and the musical fiasco that decision brought with it, I basically have to re-listen to my entire collection (or at least those albums I know I love) to get back on the same page. Seeing as I have to do this, I'm going to go for the silver lining and figure that it gives me a chance to write a bit about some of my favorite bands and records. In the past I've only written about full discographies or new bands/albums that I have heard. This gives me the chance to tell you about those diamonds in the rough.

Although I am not planning on doing this alphabetically, Abramis Brama is damn close to the beginning of my collection (currently number five. but honestly I haven't listened to the artists that come before yet). The group is Swedish, and Nothing Changes is their sole album in English. I'd love to hear more from the group, but as I've said before, I can't handle non-English music for an entire album. I need some sort of vocals that I can sort of understand (which is also my problem with a lot of instrumental music out there). If you can speak Swedish, or don't mind hearing gibberish, I am jealous and encourage you to check out the rest of their albums and get back to me.

Anyway, Abramis Brama plays a real bluesy and groove-oriented rock, with a strong sonic styling of Soundgarden, especially within the correlation of the guitars to the vocals. While it's not a complete comparison, when Ulf Torkelsson (awesome name) holds out a long note in the higher end of his register, I can't help but think of Chris Cornell (from Soundgarden). The rest of the group is pretty mellow, with down-tuned and lightly-strummed guitars, and chill drumming. It all weaves back and forth, bringing up the amplitude when needed, but never oppressing the lyrics in any regard. The mixing for this album is superb to say the least.

Nothing Changes begins with the instrumental "Abramis Brama," which meanders from really chill and spacy to a heavy groove. It sets the stage for the following song, "Know You're Lying," amazingly. Both songs are in the same key, and while you can tell where one ends and the other begins, it seems more like a second movement of the song as opposed to an entirely new track. These songs are followed up by the equally impressive "Just Like Me" and "Anticlockwise Man." The former is a more straight-forward rocker then what has been previously heard on the album, and the latter is probably my favorite track off of Nothing Changes.

The album is not perfect, and while it still continues to put out good music, it seems to loose a bit of steam at this point (approximately the half-way mark). These later songs wouldn't be on my top track pick list or anything, but I've heard this album probably half a dozen times at this point and so they've grown on me. If you dig this album as much as I did then you probably will enjoy these songs eventually as well, just probably not on the first listen. "All Is Black" and "Nothing Changes" are slower, more bluesy songs, more akin to "Just Like Me" but missing some of the spunk that the first track had. "Promises" attempts to bring back the groove of "Anticlockwise Man" and succeeds to a point, even so much as having a base bass rhythm that is very similar, but it once again falls on it's haunches when compared to the earlier song. "Never Leaving My Mind" and "Part of My Mind" follow a likewise suit, decent but falling short of the first first few songs.

Nothing Changes is a really good album, and one that grows on you the more time you spend with it. I really wish Abramis Brama would record more English-language songs and albums, but this one might just be good enough for me to forget about all of that.

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