Back in this blog’s early days (summer 2007) one of its earliest Swedish musical discoveries was the young rap duo Snook, comprised of Oskar ‘Kihlen’ Linnros and Daniel Adams-Ray. Their "Är" CD became a firm favourite with its mix of sharp lyrics and elaborate musical backdrops. The duo had been critically and commercially successful and I had hoped to hear more music from them, but they stopped making music together: Adams-Ray concentrating on his "Lagom" clothing line and Kihlen working with Maskinen, and his talent as producer coming to the fore on his then girlfriend Veronica Maggio’s Grammis-nominated "Och Vinnaren Är..."
Spring 2010: out with the old rapper Kihlen, and in with Oskar Linnros, solo artist. I welcomed the news of his return, with much celebration and anticipation of his debut solo album which for me would be one of the most eagerly awaited Swedish album releases in a year where there has already been many of them.
And it doesn’t disappoint. Linnros is a revelation, with an intelligent musical heartbeat and quality pop music running through his veins. Some of Snook’s material certainly hinted at that, but here we have a top quality album that sounds like nothing else at the moment.
Like many in a long line of Swedish ‘do-everything’ artists (Salem Al Fakir, Tingsek...) Oskar Linnros is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician and producer.
The album starts fabulously with the pounding "Genom Eld" which for about 10 seconds brought Nordman to mind (!), and then turned into a great big life-affirming drum-driven anthem. Total fabulousness indeed.
The retro-flavour which ran through Maggio’s album is a significant feature on "Vilja Bli" - there is an almost Northern Soul-vibe going on in the hugely successful single "Från Och Med Du" and the album’s first single "Ack, Sundbyberg".
There’s a very good production on "Debut" (which makes good use of stereo!). "25" is maybe a little too busy but I can imagine it working well as a live track.
"Annie Hall" starts off with a "My Life Would Suck Without You"-riff but is altogether more chilled and is one of the album’s best tracks.
Reviewer after reviewer cited Oskar as this decade’s successor to the likes of Orup in producing intelligent Swedish-language pop. A lazy comparison maybe, but I can see where they’re coming from. Parts of "Din Mamma" for example scream "Orup!!!" But rather than being the second Orup, Oskar Linnros is....the first Oskar Linnros and we should celebrate the arrival of a bright new talent in Swedish music, and like all the best Swedish musical geniuses (you know who) he takes influences from here and there, past and present, and turns them into something new and completely accessible.
In a recent Aftonbladet interview, http://www.aftonbladet.se/nojesbladet/article7449539.ab Linnros stated that there is "no love" between himself and Daniel Adams-Ray any more. And what of the other half of Snook? Well he too is now a solo artist: first single "Dum av Dig" (try not singing "Got My Mind Set On You" to it) is out now and his debut album will follow in September 2010. Snook, it would appear, is a million miles away now, but at least we now have two solo artists to get excited about.
Oskar Linnros will appear on SVT's "Allsång på Skansen" on Tuesday 20th July. More information at http://svt.se/2.37615/allsang_pa_skansen?lid=index_2059174&lpos=sajt&from=innehall_ao
Oskar's official website: http://www.oskarlinnros.se/