DEATH and VANILLA – ” California Owls “

Posted: May 10, 2015 in MUSIC
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Having released a dreamy album inspired by 60s sci-fi soundtracks, Swedish trio Death and Vanilla were invited to live score cult horror “Vampyr” at a Scandi film festival and their slow, steady, swirling accent continued.

Their new LP “To Where The Wild Things Are” ,is a poppier affair; the warm analogue loops of their vintage instruments crying out for the sweet breathy vocals that Marleen delivers with a calm and enchanting ease. Named after the children’s book, the album celebrates imagination and the ability to delve into the less-explored areas of the mind. Exactly what we need to get us through today, we are pleased to present the premiere of album track, California Owls. Almost hypnotic, this is dream pop at its absolute best.


Malmö, Sweden’s Death and Vanilla have made a name for themselves in a certain crowd. For many, they’ve continued the story that was started (or at least popularized) by bands like Broadcast and Stereolab, but, since their first release in 2010, the duo  Marleen Nilsson and Anders Hansson  have achieved something all their own too, combining vintage instrumentation  think Moog synths, zithers, and Mellotrons – with an updated brand of dream and psych pop. And then there’s the library music vibes and hauntological underpinnings.

In most places around the internet, the words ‘haunting’ and ‘mysterious’ appear again and again to describe Death and Vanilla’s sound, and those writers are not unwarranted. Other words might be ‘unsettling’ or ‘eerie.’ In 2013, the band even scored a live semi-improvisational soundtrack to Carl Theodor Dreyers’ 1932 horror classic, “Vampyr.” And they did so very well. But there’s a strange beauty to even the harshest of moments; “To Where the Wild Things are…” balances this dynamic well, keeping listeners wary and lulled, which is part of the appeal. Death and Vanilla is an impressive act; this latest from Fire Records is only the most recent installment of proof.


Eclectic, cinematic, and layered, Death and Vanilla have constructed another ten songs that pull from a large bank of sounds, genres, and time periods – often melding more than one of them. Those fond of dreamy and whimsical psychedelia will find a few tracks with them in mind. Nilsson and Hansson’s voices, in eerie harmony, lilt through the gauze curtains of each song while birds and bells and waves – as well as less bucolic sounds  seep in and out of the tracks. Single, California Owls, which is available for streaming on their Bandcamp page, sets the tone for the remainder of the album. Light percussion and piano – as well as fluttering electronic flourishes – build a lush and dreamy space for listeners, cushioned against formulaic expectations; yet it’s all very listener friendly still. The album proves a fine entry point for new comers and another great release for returning fans’ collections.

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