Wieslander "Twin Piloda"
"Måns Wieslander, according to his press, is also "involuntary leader
of the brilliant powerpop band Elevator Adam, one half of the equally
fabulous folkelectropop-duo Campo Mondo and bassplayer of the the Moonbabies".
None of this really meant anything to me as I contemplated Twin Piloda.
All I knew was that I was going to have to look up another damn extended
HTML character if I was going to spell his name properly.
Wieslander offers ten (actually eleven) tracks of wistfully rich folk-tinged
pop in the "intelligent singer/songwriter" vein -- acoustic guitars
and subtle percussion enhanced by the occasional loop. The true strong
point here, however, is Wieslander's voice. In the last few years, we've
heard from a lot of solo artist types who can write thoroughly memorable
music but can't turn in vocals to match -- this is particularly the
case with emo guys, who are used to being able to "cheat" by screaming
when they can't hit the note just right. Wieslander, however, has a
strong and enthralling voice, and is capable of conveying a wide range
of moods and emotions. Working in a sort Forster/MacLennan vein, he
aims more for a narrative approach than a confessional tone, invoking
a quiet moodiness on the swelling pop of "Nightcap" and a throaty new
wave superiority on "Ivan G". "Zap Crusade" gives Måns a chance to work
his falsetto-laden radio-friendly pop vocal, while "Indian Ladder,"
which follows it, is one of those intimate musical conversations that'll
make the ladies swoon. And if you're wondering if Wieslander can deliver
the rock, "The Move" is about the closest you'll get -- it's not fierce,
but there's plenty of feedback.
"The Move" also reveals Twin Piloda's primary shortcoming. While the
recording sparkles in the midrange, vocals and instruments hit a flat
and brittle ceiling at higher volume. The production also withers a
bit during more intricate multitrack work, such as the layered vocals
on album closer "Nemo (Only You)". It's a little disconcerting, but
not a major complaint, especially considering that most of Wieslander's
work seems to be done on a four-track.
There's also an odd feeling, which I've encountered with other Swedish
artists, that Wieslander isn't really speaking English. He is, of course,
and he sounds American about 97% of the time, but the occasional awkward
sentence construction or odd song title (what the hell is a "Zap Crusade"?)
hints at some cross-cultural incompatibilities. This isn't a legitimate
criticism per se -- just something odd I've noticed over time.
Will you like Måns Wieslander? If you're a fan of mellow, confessional
pop ballads -- The Lilac Time, The Go-Betweens or much of Stephin Merritt's
output -- then yes, you'll you'll enjoy Twin Piloda...though you'll
probably come away none the wiser as to what a Twin Piloda actually
is. I wish I could help you, but the press materials are keeping stubbornly
mum on the issue. - George Zahora
"Eek! This is a bit unfortunate
what with me raving over the Moonbabies elsewhere. 'Cos Mans is their
live bass player, and if I was planning on saying anything unpleasant
I'm sure ti would get passed on.
Thankfully, this is absolutely fantastic. Although they are similarities,
Mans takes things into an almost dancey vibe. There's hints of the appalling
Beck, but with none of his po-faced uber-irony. I doubt anyone heard
the Kim Fowley & Ben Vaughn collaborations of a few years back, but
if you did, imagine that with better vocals. And when Mats ditches the
synths and takes it down home, you end up with some truly beautiful
music, "Lepergirl" being a song that is truly timeless. It could have
fitted comfortably on the first CSN album.
Although the general tone of the CD tends to be resolutely downbeat,
listen carefully enough and there's a perpetual glimer of hope shining
through all the songs. Something we all need in times of need. Now if
you'll excuse me I have to listen to "Nemo (Only You)" one more time."
- Stuart Hamilton
"Twin Piloda" is the interesting
debut album from Malmö, Sweden based singer/songwriter Måns Wieslander
indulging in what he does best: writing great songs. A large proportion
of the album emphasises on nothing but Wieslander's dark voice and his
appropriate front-porch plucking on guitar but there is quite a few
other things going on here as well.
Like the fantastic "Ivan G" that adds deeply seductive loops to the
melodic folk pop structures sounding like Folk Implosion at the top
of their game. "Free Toys" and the timelessly pretty "Indian Ladder"
is soft spoken and genuinely mellow pieces with a great ear and eye
for detail with a simplicity that adds to its memorability.
"Still Afraid of You" is another highlight, simple but effective folk
pop hooks latches onto something very familiar, but still beguiling
in the same way as Mark Eitzel uses to conquer the saddest and most
despairing corners of the world. The closing "Nemo (Only you)" is the
perfect summer hymn for those of you living on Lonely Street. This is
great music that works particularly well during rainy days. - Mats Gustavsson
"Melancholy is the reigning
mood in a bunch of songs where Wieslander shows the courage of writing
shrewd and slightly introvert songs, producing them together with MOONBABIES´
Ola Frick as pieces of art-installations; dark, dramatic sculptures
that does´nt apologize for themselves. An exciting, demanding & headstrong
record." - Jörgen Olsson
***1/2 out of *****
"STRONG MELODIES AND BRILLIANT
"The leader of Elevator
Adam takes the full step away from the powerpop that once was his starting-point
and elixir and comes forward with this interesting solodebut; a pretty
harsh and almost raggedly beatiful collection of roughly sketched songs.
The attitude is reminiscent to that of Lou Barlow (Sebadoh) when he
chooses to act as the Folk Implosion,
Måns also mixes folksongs whose idiom is ancient and wellattempted,
with the raw at home with… punk you can accomplish with some good ideas
and a few loops The songs are often orbiting around one single idea
or theme; Wieslander holds back, rests in a singular mood, works carefully
and patiently and gives the music time to sink in; it´s the hypnotic
rather than the hysterical that he aspires. And the melodies, whether
he sings them or embroiders them on acoustic guitar, are strong enough
to reach the wanted effect. Illium is one of the most captivating songs
i´ve heard in a long time, and the enthralling Free toys is absolutely
brilliant popmusic with an acoustic folk-tone." - Håkan Engström
"This is the most interesting
debut album of the Swedish summer." - Nicke Boström
"THE MONKS VEGETABLE ENSEMBLE"
****1/2 out of *****
# 43 1999
"amazing low-key pop" "the 4-track
demo "the monks vegetable ensemble" is brilliant! The introducing Indian
Ladder has a beatiful guitar melody and together with the soulful vocals
it creates one of the best songs i´ve heard in the demoformat in a very
long time." - Roger Gunnarson