Amber Oak – “Ol’ Pa (Work All Night)”
Swedish four-piece Amber Oak craft the type of pop music that is synonymous with their native country at this point; charming arrangements, fluttering acoustics, and endless hooks are on full display. Their striking sound also benefits from youthful aspects of contemporary folk-pop. This comparison relates largely to the British folk-pop scene, and when hearing Amber Oak’s excellent “Ol’ Pa (Work All Night)” the solo work of Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner comes to mind immediately. Jonathan Eriksson’s vocals pack a similarly raspy punch, delving into elongated croons and sly maneuvering much like the Arctic Monkeys frontman. Still, comparisons can only go so far, and they become relatively moot when grasping Amber Oak’s originality and potential. Their excellent new EP, Ambivalence, features four tracks that show the Swedish pop scene as the opposite of a dying trend. Even in the middle of a tundra their pop songs deliver a certain radiance, propelled by fleeting melodies and memorable lyrical quips. Sweden seems to have an endless list of bands like these, but Amber Oak are one of the most promising I’ve come across.