Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
Had a dream last night, probably induced by a bottle of Imperial Sugared Dr. Pepper that was hoarded in the van back from SXSW a few weeks ago and intense exhaustion, that featured Emil Svanangen of Loney, Dear lying on his back, upon a freshly clipped patch of grass. The season had obviously already changed to those days when the forearms and at least half of each of the biceps is getting glazed in direct sunlight for the first time in quite an eternity. The green of the grass was kind of intoxicating (there in that dream), a rich color that looks like it could be used to paint 40 or 50 more lawns - it was just that dark and green. The yellow of the sun rays struck Svanangen squarely and evenly, pale-ing him out a little more, but only for a spell, as the light contrasted with a topless sort of blue sky, that has no ceiling and seems to invite or taunt hot air balloons to fill it up with stripes and bulbs. It was the kind of day that gets rejoiced, even if it's a fabrication of the imagination and there was every assured indication that Svanangen was doing just that, taking the spectacle in and letting it take him asunder. There's nothing all that phenomenal about such a setting though. These happen all the time and one is certainly happening somewhere on the planet, every second of every day. The day that was sequestered in my head doesn't factor into the crux of the story all that much. It leads us to where we're going, to where Loney, Dear takes us on the latest record, _Dear John_, but that is all. There is more. And that's where Svanangen really comes into the tale of a night that was a day, of a picture-perfect dream world, and what we find the tender and cushion-y voiced man of Sweden doing is casting out the kinds of lonely cirrus and cumulous nimbus clouds that pepper a sky with their static and their hovering qualities, just hanging as boulders that airplanes and geese can slash through without much consternation or worry. In the dream, Svanangen leans back, with his fingers laced behind his dirty blonde head in full-on relaxation mode, and exhales as if he were expelling two lungs full of cherry-flavored pipe tobacco smoke up and into the direction of the heavens. When it leaves his mouth though, it's in the form of perfectly formed clouds, round and bumpy, cuddly and peaceful. Reflected in them is none of the kind of baggage that he sometimes hangs onto, of which most of it is reprocessed into the kind of introspective and gorgeous lyrics that fill up his latest album and all of the other albums he's put his name to. His music is perfectly acceptable to the clouds and the skies they inhabit, here and yonder, whispering back their approval by moving the bangs on a forehead or the feathers on songbirds. It's a touching showing that Svanangen gives on _Dear John_, where songs of seemingly regrettable circumstances and endings lays out a battered body of a man looking to rescind a little bit, if not a lot bit. There's been plenty of heart-breaking and it's not too difficult to follow which side of the knife the main protagonist falls on. He sings, "I'd sell my heart to make it all turn right," in "I Was Only Going Out" - a fantastic song that bleeds a little, in a good way - and it's the thesis for all of the main problems that need sorting through the entire album. Some getaway is needed, some vacation would be good, so that daydreaming, that moving into a world where the clouds can be created by men, as easily as he makes snow for the snow slopes during Indian summers. Svanangen has this place at his disposal and he can create or destroy it. It seems as if with every breath he's doing that.
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