I’m thinking lazy summer days slipping into cool pools and flip flop patio stools, sipping sangria, while perfect sarong wrapped zombies surround you like flies round a corpse. All is not well in paradise. The modern stylized cover of a hazy sun being partly covered by a cloud gives a small hint, and the titles like ‘Had Enough’, ‘Hopeless’ and the title song ‘Even The Good Days Are Bad’ reinforce the fact.
The perfect 10cc style production and arrangement add to the feeling of drowning in honey. There is a sickness, a malaise, a general feeling that something isn’t quite right in this otherwise very pretty world. It’s like the fever delirium or the drug induced sense of slipping away from reality, or the heatstroke undulations in your weak body. The keyboards shimmer, the strings bend in and out, infecting your head. It’s like a fever dream.
‘Turbulence’ dips and rises like a lilo on a lido, chords drift and wash over you, pushing you further and further away from the world into nerve-deadening sense of dread and foreboding but without the energy to resist. ‘I wasn’t sleeping/I wasn’t awake/I was over the ocean’, the opening lyric sets the scene and the music takes you drifting into a whirlpool of morphine hazed tragedy from which there is no escape.
Underneath all this queazy sickness there is however something of the bland. Take ‘Alone’, a beautifully constructed, precise, concise, carefully produced and well presented ball of cotton wool. The same can be said for ‘Hopeless’. Too much style over content, but there is such style here, in the way the whole thing has been constructed, the pedal steel style guitars forever hinting at paradise, pointing in a tempting direction which you never arrive at.
The more successful of these songs, like the title song and the stand outs ‘Turbulence’ and ‘Downer’, are truly disturbed waters in an otherwise perfect, though slightly bland paradise, and with that they are definitely on to something. It’s like drowning by numbers, submerged but unable to even struggle against the inevitable. Drifting dreamily to your doom in a wash of blue cooling waters and sun drenched orange eyelid glows, quietly bloodletting and weakening in the wake of a soft juggernaut of pressed flesh.
This band have been around for ages and this is their 10th album apparently. They come from Sweden and have a penchant for classic analogue, which really shows. It is subtle and dreamy, and timeless. It’s not without its faults, falling as it does somewhere between bland and forgettable, but that’s the price you sometimes have to pay for such sweet, barbed subtlety. When this sweet sickliness becomes just ever so slightly chilling and ominous, its spine-tinglingly glorious.
Even The Goods Days Are Bad is out now on Tapete Records.
Find out more on Last Days of April’s official website.