Don't Look Back into the Darkness
published: 14 /
Melancholically beautiful and subtle fourth album from the Grand Opening, the project of Stockholm multi-instrumentalist John Roger Olsson
The Grand Opening is the project of Stockholm multi-instrumentalist John Roger Olsson, a man who is counted among the finest representatives of this art. His work is seen as featuring what some call 'the Swedish component' which is defined as a deep melancholy woven beautifully into the music. Thus is what sets it apart from the music of bands Olsson is often grouped with such as Talk Talk or American Music Club. Alongside that component that seems to evoke the lonely but romantic image of the Swedish countryside, Olsson explores themes of a man’s place in his world and his personal memories of the past, which were inspired by some old family photos he found. One of these photos provided the album cover, a faded and ghostly image of his family.
'Blacker Than Blue' is a beautiful, gentle opener that sets the tone for the whole album. The guitars are slow but it sounds more measured than lazy and the mood is peaceful. Songs are uncluttered but not stark. The lyrics are given space to breathe. 'Towards Your Final Rest' has the quality of a hymn, and 'Free' is uplifting and forward looking. 'Old News' is reflective and 'Target' features unobtrusive but uplifting brass. 'Over The Fences' pushes the vocals to the front, and 'Tired Eyes' closes proceedings.
‘Don't Look Back into Darkness’ is perfectly comfortable with itself and manages to maintain a consistent tone without feeling repetitive. It walks the line between intensely personal and accessible. The real magic is in its subtlety. Paying attention will pay musical dividends.
Blacker Than Blue
Towards Your Final Rest
There Is Always Hope
Over the Fences