Andreas Johnson – Liebling

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Album Review by Nigel A. Messenger

The soon-to-be ubiquitous 28 year old Swede Andreas Johnson has wasted no time following the overnight success of his debut single, GLORIOUS, with this, a collection of 11 tracks to show off his song-writing ability and prove to the world he’s no one-hit wonder. Unfortunately, he doesn’t really pull it off.

Starting the album with the soaring GLORIOUS, all electronic beats, rousing strings and wailing chorus, subsequent tracks find the opener a hard act to follow. THE GAMES WE PLAY is catchy enough and has a kind of Verve/Radiohead feel to it, but it seems rather too familiar. Similarly, the seedy techno-drawl of PEOPLE is the kind of trickery U2 were knocking out almost a decade ago on ACHTUNG BABY.

Elsewhere, things go really awry. DO YOU BELIEVE IN HEAVEN crawls along, with its saxophone delivering the nail in the listener’s coffin halfway through. PLEASE (DO ME RIGHT) is an ill-advised foray into lounge-jazz territory, with all the Barry White clichés intact: “Please do me right…woman”. Even worse, “Should Have Been Me” sounds like Simply Red, for God’s sake.

All of this is not helped by Andreas’ style of singing, mostly a combination of drawled verses and warbled choruses, and he can’t resist that high-pitched yelp at some point.

Occasionally the strings and guitars, a combination that has done wonders for the Manic Street Preachers, combine to form a molten slab of pleasing noise: the dense, processed minor chords of the nihilistic BREATHING have a kind of Electrafixion grandeur. But then, Electrafixion hardly set the world alight. The closing UNBELIEVABLE, with its acoustic guitar and heavy piano chords, is also quite pretty. Quite why he felt the need to add, uncredited, HONEY DROPS (a rather limp B-side to GLORIOUS) onto the end is quite beyond me.

It seems that, by trying to be all things to all men, and impressing the pants off us with his versatility, Andreas Johnson has produced a collection of songs so varied that almost everyone is bound to hate a large portion of the album.

3 stars