This is this reviewers first encounter with the Swedish band "The Amazing" and the experience has been overwhelmingly positive. The bands main man Christoffer Gunrup is at the heart of this group of musicians who have previously recorded two previous albums. They debuted live on US television on the David Letteman show although looked a little awkward in this setting, Their music is a real mix of influences not least traces of Pink Floyd, the Red House Painters and some Nick Drake thrown in for good measure. Many of their songs such as the albums title track are essentially suites of music which often feel more like hazy jams than strict convention of verse-chorus-verse. Overall "Picture You" on the basis of glass half empty could be described as melancholy but once you road test this record for while its reveals hidden charms and ethereal melodies.
Opener "Broken" is a fine start with chiming clock like guitars breaking out into a wonderfully soft focus song with nice psychedelic underpinnings. As stated the title track has dreamy feel over its languid nine plus minutes. It is hard to pin down precisely what is so right about this track, whether its the flowing guitar work, sumptuous harmonies or the mid point break into a harder more bass driven composition. whatever the case it works and clearly sets out the bands stall. In contrast other tracks like "Headless Boy" are pure folk acoustics in the tradition of Mark Kozelek, indeed it may the best song he has never written. The track which stands out above the others is the seven minute “Fryshusfunk” a splendid psych folk meets workout that the band nail completely. By the end of the track they turn it into the maddest Dave Gilmour style guitar you may have ever heard. Other tracks like "Tell them you can't leave" have a slight Byrds feel and gorgeous harmonies, while another long track "Safe Island" clearly owes a debt to Robert Smith with its Cure style power chords.
It could be viewed as a real conceit to call your band "The Amazing" since sometimes they are far from it. Tracks like "To Keep Going" with its repeated lyrics strewn over 5 minutes outstays its welcome around 60 seconds and shows the limitations of half awake melodies whose function is more ambient than purposeful. There is nonetheless a great band stirring here, full of great ideas and with the musicianship to carry it off. In terms of their location in Swedish music they are much closer to the ethic of Radio Dept than First Aid Kit. In this sense "Picture You" is one of the sweetest listens of 2015 thus far and its time therefore to check out their back catalogue.
Review by Red on Black