Album Review: The Amazing, ‘Picture You’
With their third studio album, the Amazing have only seemed to improve on the sound that they've been procuring since their formation in 2009. Comprised of members of Dungen and Granada, the effervescent, mid-tempo indie quintet paints a picture of a long, mellow journey through a poppy field with Picture You, their new 10-track full-length that's out today (Feb. 17) via Partisan Records. We are constantly recommending new music to listen to, but if we do one thing right today, it's to tell you that you need to give this record a spin.
The spacey first track, "Broken," immediately sets the mood for an uninterrupted, relaxing listen. Leading man Christoffer Gunrup's subdued voice pairs perfectly with the band's weaving instrumentals, sounds that are reminiscent of Real Estate; Alexis Benson's female counter-vocals are beautifully executed to boot, and the clean drumming of Moussa Fadera is notable throughout the record. In fact, the entire LP was recorded so crisp and flawlessly that it's hard to believe it was completed in a span of just three days.
The title track makes it clear why it was chosen to represent the album: It is single-worthy in every sense of the word. It's catchy, and again, sounds like something that Real Estate's Matt Mondanile would create, up until the extended instrumental jam that runs for nearly the entire second half of the track, pushing the song's runtime to nearly 10 minutes in length. The guitar work of Reine Fiske really shines through here, clearly hearkening his previous work with Dungen.
The third track, "Circles," is a song that you could easily get lost in; the quiet, passionately sad tune is one of the most beautiful songs on the album. It's an apologetic anthem to failing in life ... and possibly love.
"Safe Island" is another one of their lengthier tracks with a psychedelic intro that helps set the pace for the instrumentals that follow -- although "psychedelic" is a term that Gunrup isn't too fond of. The song seems to be inspired by My Bloody Valentine, and as a matter of fact, Gunrup often claims MBV as one of his personal influences. The overall elevated nature of the slightly more energetic track makes for a good mid-album pick-me-up.
Vocals are a distant counterpart on "To Keep It Going," which focuses more on the elated, floating cymbal crashes and instrumental harmonies in the form of synths andkeys. This is one of those songs that you can only hope to see in a live setting.
The sixth track, 'Fryshusfunk' is the most unique song on the album, taking the form of a very funky near-dance track. Gunrup's gentle voice will surely hold you back from breaking out into any kind of dance though, sorry for getting your hopes up. There's also a lengthy interlude that has no funky qualities whatsoever, followed by a guitar solo reminiscent of Pink Floyd and similar to what you heard going on in the second song.
"Tell Them You Can't Leave" takes the form of some of the other tracks, serving as a filler, leading to the beauty of "The Headless Boy," a song that sounds like something well-suited for a romance film (although the title and theme might not be as well-suited).
"Captured Light" is the album's ninth song, bearing heavy similarity to the album's "Safe Island," but with a slightly more prominent bass line. The cool, calm and collective jam at the end, along with Benson's "Ooohs," is one of the best outros to any song on this record; it's nearly two songs in one. With 2:35 remaining, a nearly brand new acoustic-like song begins to finish out the track. The 10th and final number, "Winter Dress," is a catchy send off, launching the listener into a plane of pure euphoria. Some of the sounds and key techniques give you the sense of being underwater; imagine floating in a crystal clear pool with this song blaring.
Picture You transcends atmospheres; get high to it, fall asleep to it, drive cross-country with it as your soundtrack, or even party with it. If the Amazing's direction remains where it's heading now, we can only expect bigger and better things from a band that cherishes the brightness in obscurity.