[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
“Cursed by sensitivity”
For having been at this as long as he has, Tor Lundvall hasn’t been one to lay his cards on the table like this before. What few vocal albums he’s done have always contained opaque lyrics, open to all manner of interpretation. That’s not happening here and if his directness surprises you then consider what the past few years have been like for him; all the ambient splendor in the world cannot assuage the emptiness brought on by the kind of loss he’s endured. His knack for melodies is brought back to the fore alongside subtle guitars I’d never suspected out of him
It’s a remarkable skill to be able to surprise your audience when they’ve been with you through so many many seasons; his modest compositions speak with graceful candor to his abilities as a songwriter. Quite plainly, he could have a much higher profile than he does and it is only by design that his releases are put out in such limited amounts. ‘A Dark Place’ lives up to the name given but never does it descend into the pandering melodrama so many others happily saturate their music with. If anything, this is an insight into one man’s grief and his moving through the waves it comes in. To move on he’s given us these beauties.
“I was finished from the start”
What gets me most about all of this is how quickly it passes, much like life itself, I suppose. Moreover, time’s passage is the primary commodity Lundvall seeks to capture the essence of. Catchy though songs like “The Void” are they’re no pop confections; listening to his words it feels as though each and every night he’s been woken up by his thoughts spilling over from the subconscious side via his dreams. Unable to get back to bed, he wanders around the inside of his home going over the details before taking the bold step of imprisoning them in song form.
Over the decades of listening, I feel as though I’ve gotten to know him a little bit as a person but clearly there were hidden sides to what he does lurking in the shade. What some others are going to dismiss as just another collection of sugary tunes could wind up being his most moving work; when I’d first got this in the post and spun it a few times, I had all these grand parallels to draw between what’s on here with ‘Faith’ by The Cure or ‘Organisation’ from OMD but I see now how short that would be selling Tor’s latest eight. They’ve never been this honest and the cynicism inherent in what they do would have only clouded the waters.
This is a chronicle of loss, a series of audio portraits which are unrelenting in tone and created at a resolution only our artist has the talent to render. Memory is a finite blade, delicate at times and mercilessly thorough on a whim; the invasive nature of a truly sorrowful path… and he decided to make an album about it. Let that sink in while you listen.