The Umbrellas – Linnea Hjertén – Dragged Up – album reviews

For the first collection of reviews for 2024 we have new indie by The Umbrellas, Swedish ancient sounding folk by Linnea Hjertén and caught up with Glasgow’s Dragged Up and last winter’s cassette release for Cruel Nature. Have a read and a listen below.

The Umbrellas – Fairweather Friend

Tough Love (UK) and Slumberland (North America)

Bloody indie pop, so much to answer for. Every decent band has a shadow of thirty average groovy tossers who can twang with only an average groove. Having said that, The Umbrellas do a jolly good job of keeping indie pop alive in this day and age. I like the contrast between the two vocalists, and the way the music goes all quiet and sad when the female voice leads and it’s all chuggy and guitary loud when the male sings, until it doesn’t, and she sings a blinding fast one.Umbrellas are, as you’ve probably gathered by now, one of the decent bands, there’s fey bits, punky bits, thrashing slamming bits and shiny bright pop bits too. Nice harmonies and it’s very easy to lose yourself in. It really is a very good album. 

Linnea Hjertén – Nio systrar

Nordvis Produktion

This feels like a ship silently flowing towards a cold stony beach, the water rippling gently as it passes. Sail tattered and patched and its boards stained with old blood. It’s folk music, but it’s Viking folk music and since I discovered Wardruna I have devoured everything else I can find that sounds like this. A beautiful faerie tinged voice singing songs that sound old and lost somewhere we can no longer reach, it’s all about the sound of the singing, the music just keeps it above the deep, cold water.

Dragged Up – Hex Domestic

Cruel Nature Recordings

This was released last year on cassette, and shamefully I didn’t review it then. I also didn’t make any of their tour dates because of, well, crap stuff. So I am redressing this now. It’s out on the fantastic Cruel Nature Recordings and has four songs. Can we have more than four songs next time please? It’s spaced out, fuzzy, lazy and the vocal is that laid back it sounds like it was recorded while sitting on the sofa sipping tea. But underneath the weird music and arguing voices there’s a centre of bleak anger. When the pace picks up the vocals still sound almost half arsed but they work. Only on the last song are they clearly spoken, in a broken and beaten monologue which, although it shifts to a more positive end, clearly has the same bleak anger behind it as the rest of the tape. I don’t know what type of music it is except that I would really really like a whole album’s worth please.

The Umbrellas are on Instagram and Bandcamp. They Tweet as @theumbrellassf

Linnea Hjertén is on Instagram and Bandcamp.

Dragged Up are on Facebook, Instagram and have a Bandcamp page.

All words by Adrian Bloxham.

Adrian Bloxham

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