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EP Review: Alice Boman – EPII

2 min read

Swedish singer-songwriter Alice Boman continues the momentum generated by her debut EP Skisser, with this icy followup.

AliceBoman-EPIIEPII opens with the lowest of (emotional) lows on What. The decaying out of tune piano heaves heavily on the heartstrings even before a single note is sung.  When Bowen’s wispy vocals begin and threaten to falter, the despair is almost too much too bear. Despite this, she manages to make lines such as ‘what…do you see…when you look at meee?’ sound like a mournful, yet majestic and graceful plea for help. The recording’s lo-fi nature reinforces the desolate landscape of the track; the everpresent hiss mimics neverending rain.

A robotic drum machine and keyboards that probably come from an old-fashioned Yamaha organ (the brown one with the two keyboards and bass pedals that you might find in a nursing home) dominate Over. Boman’s almost upbeat falsetto pierces through the retro, murky din of synths, but she is clearly in denial about her loss as she mutters ‘it’s not over’ repeatedly. At the end, Boman accepts her fate by pressing the button to stop recording. This is an effective example of how a song’s subject matter even influences the way a recording is engineered.

The eerie piano returns on the synthy, spacey Burns, as Boman wallows in her solitude. Be Mine captures the haunted swing of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, but its unusual brass parts are just as spooky as Bowen’s processed, echoey vocals. Just imagine a ghost calling out ‘be mine’ to you constantly in the dark!

When the EP could not get any creepier and colder, Lead Me and All Eyes on You warm things up. Their subdued but soothing harmonies and inviting lyrics (‘if you want me, I am yours’) open the opportunity for reconciliation. Boman’s message is that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel. This is a nice way to wrap up the EP.

The US edition is beefed up with the Skisser EP. The 3 Skiss tracks are varied reflections on love. Whilst Skiss 3 floats on air compared to EPII, Skiss 2 already utilises Boman’s lo-fi approach to recording. The tender, hopeful Waiting is a contrast to the confusion on What Are You Searching For, as Boman wonders about how to sooth her lover’s mind and how long her love would last.  Surely, Skisser was the calm before the relative storm of EPII.

Ultimately, Boman succeeds in producing an effort that is a fitting followup to her debut. EPII also has a nice flow, as Boman explores a range of emotions like denial, anger, acceptance and hope from one track to the next. Listeners can grow, and therefore engage, with this record.