Rock lives yet. The Amazing are a Swedish alternative rock quintet active since the late 2000s. They represent an ever-receding pocket of music, offering a no-frills, minimally processed sound conspicuously lacking in pop-hooks, yet undeniable all the same. With unwavering attentiveness to quality riff-writing, The Amazing stray from the limelight and simply let the art do the talking. Masters of blending layers of instrumentation, they never shy from classic rock arrangement, offering a refreshing mixture of electric and acoustic guitar, piano, tasteful harmony and unobtrusive drumming. The focus is on feeling; a palpable ethos cruising gently by at a comfortable pace, nothing forced, nothing contrived. Singer Christoffer Gunrop conveys an honest reverence for melancholy, without seeming downcast or depressing. Elegance in defeat – a gentle reminder that sadness can be pretty too.
I clued in to The Amazing with 2015’s break-out LP “Picture You”, an hour-long journey of conviction and apology spanning bedroom lullaby to muscular epic. In true rocker form, the instrumentation was reportedly recorded in a 3-day frenzy; you’d never know it though, given the air-tight precision only delivered by those of proficient musicianship. A mere 15 months later followed “Ambulance”, a quiet and meditative offering in 8 movements. With the exception of sore-thumb black sheep track “Blair Drager” (skip it), the album whisks you into a soft carpeted living room with clashy decor, dim lighting, and 5 friends basking in the complementary myriad of each instrument’s sound. If ever I stop obsessing over these two, it’s comforting to know there’s many more earlier works waiting to help keep the flickering flame of rock and roll alive.
Favourite track: Circles… now that’s how you apologize