Christian Älvestam

Self 2.0

01. Once Adreamed
02. Time To Let Go
03. Origins
04. The Unforsaken
05. En Knippa Ljung

[10/19/12]
[Pivotal Rockordings]

Christian Älvestam’s name usually pops up in three separate categories of conversation; why Scar Symmetry was so much better or worse with him, how he manages to play a role in approximately four thousand good bands, or heated debates over his live performances. Now, surprisingly enough, his name can be safely worked into conversations dealing with pop music.

Despite clocking in at a little over 26 minutes, Self 2.0 manages to pack in more hooks than your average fishing trip, grabbing you right from the start with the synth-laden, twist-turn saxophone soloing, undeniably groovy ‘Once Adreamed.’  Much like the songs that come after it, the song provides memorable vocal melodies and well-thought out lyrics in the verses that gently push you along to the gargantuan chorus that’ll be stuck in your head for hours on end. The bonus about this seemingly formulaic approach to a pop song (and pop release) is that it never manages to rely on boring chord progressions, note choices, or instrumentation. Each song has its own unique signature that makes it stand out from the rest, but doesn’t set it too far apart where the release doesn’t flow as a singular work.

Just how different is each song? ‘Time To Let Go’ is a ballad that’s all acoustic guitar and synths, which wallow in the uplifting major-keyed sadness. Then, what’s that… bass and drums? Cue the cheesy 80’s drum fill, because here comes a chorus that’s about to have you belting the lyrics at the top of your lungs! ‘Origins’ is an interesting animal because it manages to take the similar synth sounds you’ve heard on ‘Time To Let Go,’ and combines them with truckloads of reverb and some delayed guitar for something all its own. The song also utilizes saxophone and a slightly more mid-scooped drum sound to round out an audible sculpture that keeps the release as interesting as the second you hit play. ‘The Unforsaken’ does pretty much the same thing as ‘Origins,’ but relies much more heavily on the vocal melody to keep its head above the water. It isn’t a bad song by any means, just different than what you’ve experienced thus far. Then there’s ‘En Knippa Ljung,’ a song sung entirely in Swedish and definitely not what you’re expecting to finish off the EP. ‘En Knippa Ljung’ is all about the acoustic guitar, pizzicato strings, and some wood-block percussion that builds into a gentle giant of soft distortions and strings before it fades out of your speakers. In short, Älvestam knows how to build off each song into something completely new without ever repeating himself.

Self 2.0 is both exactly what you’re expecting and not what you’re expecting in the slightest at the same time. All the usual Älvestam vocal magic is in the release, as well as all the solid and well-planned instrumentation you’ve come to expect from the man over the years. Except it’s in the form infectious pop music that you’re not going to be turn away from. Get ready to sing your balls off.

Christian Älvestam – Self 2.0 gets…

4/5

- GK