29 Sept 2015

Us and Them - Summer Green and Autumn Brown

Reviewed by Elizabeth Klisiewicz

Us and Them are a lovely, chilled out acid folk duo from Sweden. Britt Rönnholm (vocals) and Anders Hakanson (guitar and keyboard) resonate like a great lost folk group from the late 60s, keeping company with the likes of Fairport Convention or The Incredible String Band. They have that closeted, intimate warmth often associated with bedroom recordings. The sound is spare, maybe even lo fi, but its delicate meanderings are mesmerizing and austere. Britt paints her songs with lacy strokes, her lovely alto darkening things just enough to keep the listener from floating away altogether. I am especially taken with the gorgeous “Another View of Us”, which is airy and has meaningful lyrics that stay with you after the tune has faded away. This is music with an autumnal vibe, a soundtrack to accompany the listener through multihued forests. It also wraps itself warmly around my ears like a comfy afghan, drawing me into its depths. “We Are Sacred” is a pastoral gem, with its combination of chamber pop (think harpsichord) with folk overtones. “Late Night, Early Morning” is aptly named, a song for a cold, gray November day with beautiful vocals from Britt, and equally lovely music to accompany her. The band also uses synths sparingly, which lends enough variety to the instrumentation to keep it all very interesting. “Here Again” is bright and charming with wispy vocals and chiming guitars and keyboards, but also has a hint of mystery to intrigue listeners. “Precious Moments” is close and confessional, delicately rendered with unique musical flourishes. “From The Inside, Looking Out” starts off disquieting and chilling, quite a different feel from the rest of this record. And then it transforms itself on the bridge to a sunnier feel, but that doesn’t last long. “Insight” is short and peaceful and winds down this beautiful release in a fitting manner.

This is a wonderful album that is highly recommended for fans who like edgy, folk-influenced music with deep roots in the past.

Vinyl, CD (including limited edition 4 disc version), and stream are all available here:

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