Review: Sven Sundberg, Intimacy
Sven Sundberg, Intimacy
Just like a good stretch can help loosen and rejuvenate a body, Sven Sundberg’s music can relax and soothe the soul. His serene tunes can aptly bring calm and inspiration to a myriad of settings whether the listener is still in pajamas to office attire to formal wear. Sundberg’s album Intimacy is a tranquil collection of instrumental pieces lead by piano and laced with various keyboard effects that are more often than not, incredibly tasteful adding additional color to his music.
The opening number, “In Your Love” has a similar introduction to The Carpenter’s “Close To You” with its sweet, slow simplistic melody. Unlike many of his peers who flaunt the synthesized strings to an overbearing effect, Sundberg keeps the accompaniment chilling in the background so that his lovely artistic piano tune stays to the fore. “Carriage Ride” boasts a bright chime lead with percussion and snaps taking the listener on a non-hurried lackadaisical constitutional. The formula Sundberg uses in his compositions of creating peaceful moods works so well, that at times, his pieces lack variability. If one zoned out momentarily they might think that “Seasons Change” is a continuation of the previous track with the main differences being a slightly slower tempo, more echo and a quasi-harpsichord lead. Nevertheless it is a charming song and could have been on the cutting room floor for Mark Knopfler’s soundtrack to The Princess Bride.
Another conundrum of this genre of music is not to overdo a good vibe. “Gravity” is an uplifting happy song imbuing a sense of hope and progress, but by the midpoint of the number, this melody loses its momentum due to stasis. However, this issue does not plague the upbeat sunny song “It’s Time 2015” which offers a delighted sense of resolve.
While the overall balance and mix of Intimacy is well done, the first half of “Wings” sounds off with the sustained piano and synthesized echo mushing together. Thankfully this issue is resolved by the second half of the piece. Sundberg does present a superfluous amount of syrupy keyboard sounds in “If Only”. The slightly despondent tone is practically devoid in the magical jewel-encrusted synthesized tones, like a sparkling teardrop from a My Little Pony. The solo piano in the coda though brings clarity. These starlit tones are also abundant in “Crystal Clear” while the more celestial patches chosen for “Another Heaven” add a positive wholesomeness to the piece.
The namesake of the album is perfectly captured in the romantic ballad “You in Blue” which would be ideal for a candlelit dinner complete with red roses on the table. “Dinner for Two” captures the same sensuous ardor in a more refined, almost regal fashion. Intimacy has the special and unique ability to unassumingly offer the listener the serenity they did even know they were seeking. “Sweet on You” with Sundberg’s signature piano lead is earthy and accessible washing away the daily troubles and doldrums of the world.
Intimacy is not the most innovative or creative album ever produced, but it does need or claim to be. It is a therapeutic balm with its tranquil aura and soul soothing integrity.
Reviewers Name: Kelly O’Neil
Rating: 4 stars