Romping through quintessential pop hooks, Forever Today fits like an old tee. Like their first, 2006's Let Me Introduce My Friends, it doesn't make strong turns in mood or momentum. A familiar, if more dynamic, mix of group vocals, glockenspiel, horns, and hand claps, tambos optional, bass hooks turned to funk -- this is an easy win.
Pop at its best, the album is far from simple. Beautiful production and arrangements keep it from feeling like a parade of ideas and more like someone cleared out the bus and gave everyone a job. Besides the first single "Get In Line," hits include "Charlie Parker" for its catchy-as-hell melody and tiny synthy details, "Skipping a Beat" and "Battleships" with bass lines that gives the album a deeper groove, and "Game Is On," sounding introspective without a collective ruh-roh that took over on Who Killed Harry Houdini? There's a couple slow ones in the mix, but a hop and a skip and we're back on their party bus.
Rather than a collective mish-mash, I'm From Barcelona develops a cohesive and refined style without winding down the earnest enthusiasm that sits at the core of their best work (and which must be difficult to sustain on tour x 27 members). Emmanuel Lundgren and gang continue to grow in the strong company of modern Swedish Pop.
Photo courtesy Matt Hass.