Weeping Willows


Broken Promise Land

Weeping Willows - Broken Promise Land ©1997 Virgin/Grand Recordings
1. So It's Over
2. Under Suspicion
3. I Didn't Know
4. Blue And Alone
5. I'm Falling In Love
6. Your Eyes
7. Broken Promised Land
8. Echoes Of Your Breath
9. Eternal Flames
10. Good Night Moon
11. Louisa
12. Try It Once Again

While the austere album cover reflects the solemnity of a Bergman film, Weeping Willows' debut album is a lovely and grand affair that molds altogether all but the very best elements of 50s pop, lounge, country, and even a very mild post-punk influence for good measure. While lesser bands revel in pastiche, Weeping Willows wears its influences proudly on its sleeve, and to top it all off, ends up making some of the saddest and most lovelorn music this side of Katatonia. Frontman Magnus Carlsson is the reason for this, as he is in possession of a lovely voice that is full and warm, reminding one of a cross between Scott Walker at the height of his fame and Morrissey (see the absolutely heartbreaking title track for evidence of this). This is not to discount the efforts of his backing band, which collectively churns out tasteful and pretty arrangements (specifically pianist/organist Mats Heden). Producer Pal Svenre is the provider of the string arrangements and big band orchestrations that merely add to the grandness of the whole thing. While my interest in this band is more in keeping with its second album, Endless Nights, Broken Promised Land, while a bit more traditional in the songwriting department, is a fine pop album and one that should be acquired by all.

Review by Alec A. Head

Review date: 07/2006

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Endless Night

Weeping Willows - Endless Night ©1999 EMI
1. While I’m Still Strong
2. True To You
3. Emptiness
4. I Close My Eyes
5. By The River
6. When You Are Asleep
7. The Truth In Your Eyes
8. Catherine
9. Where Will You Stay
10. Stay With Me
11. Nothing Or All
12. Looking For A Home
13. Endless Night

When done well, pastiche can be a glorious thing. Weeping Willows, on their second album, pulled out all the stops with their diverse mixture of lounge, pop, lilting string arrangements, and big-band orchestrations, and coated everything in an ocean of reverb and lovelorn, lonesome despair. Said despair never sounded forced or mopey, but genuinely moving and always pulling on the heartstrings. Needless to say, this album can be a great friend in dark times and never ceases to move me whenever I listen to it.

With Magnus Carlsson’s genuinely heartbreaking vocal performance, songs like the beautifully minimal “I Close My Eyes”, the chamber string-driven “Catherine” and “By The River”, the album’s best track, are delivered with almost eerie sadness. Still, tracks like the post-punky ode to masturbation “True to You”, the big-band pop of “The Truth in Your Eyes” and the hopeful closing title track reveal that the band is wont to do anything but wallow in self-pity. Even then, “Where Will You Stay” is downright scary and is more spiteful than sad. The band even goes for a haunting journeyman/highway drifter number in the form of “Looking for a Home”.

All of this, in the hands of a lesser band, could have easily wandered into self-parody, but it is altogether evident that the Weeping Willows have a genuine love for the music that influenced them, and that love is no more evident than on this album.

Review by Alec A. Head

Review date: 07/2006

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Into The Light

Weeping Willows - Into The Light ©2002 Virgin/Grand Recordings
1. Touch Me
2. Disconnected
3. Untouchable
4. You’re Happy Now
5. Falling
6. Somewhere
7. Into The Light
8. If I Could See You One More Time
9. Return To Me
10. Sunny Days

With their two previous releases, the Weeping Willows utterly astounded me with their unique and dynamic mixture of lounge and pop which was at once both cathartic and heartbreaking. On this, their third album, we find Sweden’s despondent dapper superstars eschewing the pastiche Sinatra-isms and opting for a more accessible, dare I say commercialized sound. While far from being the mindblowing masterpiece that I was so sincerely hoping for, Into the Light is still a solid album that aptly demonstrates that ever so recognizable pop songcraft that only seems to be endowed upon an infinitesimal amount of bands.

Taking a cue from the likes of Radiohead, U2, and Duran Duran, the Weeping Willows have delved into the choppy waters of electronics. However, aside from the occasional use of the drum machine and other such studio devices, electronics are used sparsely and never wander into the Radiohead’s masturbatory, self indulgent, but no less great territory. Opening song and hit single (at least in their home country) “Touch Me,” with its driving rhythm and catchy chorus, is by far the catchiest of the lot, while the hopeful, simplistic beauty of “You’re Happy Now” and “If I Could See You One More Time” are by far the most moving. However, amidst all of the pop mastery lies a certain affinity towards replicating the success of their fellow countrymen, the much more well known Kent, on tracks like “Somewhere”. Singer Magnus Carlsson still croons in that Morrissey-meets-Sinatra drawl that makes his seemingly trite lyrical sentiments seem like great works of poetry, the guitars often switch between jangly, slovenly strums to ringing, Radiohead-ish arpeggios, and the keyboards and synths are given much more prominence in the mix, providing a lush backdrop.

While I wholeheartedly miss the lilting, glorious strings and the big band orchestrations that made their two previous albums, Endless Night and Broken Promise Land, such masterworks of modern pop music, I can safely say that Into the Light is a very solid release that is more than worthy of the Weeping Willows’ name.

Review by Alec A. Head

Review date: 06/2002

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