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Upp I Det Blå
Artist: MIR
Label: DayGlo Records
Time: 10 tracks/43:11 minutes

In some respects, it's too bad this album is in Swedish.  It's admirable, on one hand, that such catchy and thoughtful music is available in Swedish, but it also means that the band is limiting their possible market quite heavily.

As DayGlo records starts to make itself known in North America, some of the releases of the past few years are surfacing.  This 1998 release by MIR, a band which has among its members the bassist from The Miscellaneous, Øyvind Eriksen, is one of these.

This album, which translated is "Up In the Blue" is a mixture of pop, rock, and the odd bit of dance-like drum programming/synth programming, with the net result a rather catchy album, reminiscent at times of Jesus Freak-era DC Talk, Reality Check, or Seal.

The lyrics are interesting, and quite good. The first track, "För Din Skull" (or "For Your Sake"), has as a bridge the following:

För din skull
Vågar jag se himmelen som
Som den är
Inte bara svart eller vit
or, roughly translated: "For your sake I can see heaven as it is; red, yellow, blue, green, not just black and white."  The title track, which closes off the album, echoes the sentiment:
Jag vill upp i det blå med dej
Och tillbaks till det grå med dej
Jag vill upp i det blå med dej
Allting med dej

I want to go up in the blue with you
And back to the gray with you/
want to go up in the blue with you
Everything with you.

Lead vocals are shared by Mathias Johansson and Karl Fredrik Jonsson, who both also play guitar.  The lack of guitar on the album considering that there are two listed guitarists in the band was somewhat a surprise, but not a fatal shortcoming by any means.  Drummer Mattias Axelsson keeps the beat well, and producer Arne Johansson is essentially the fifth member of the band, with his synth and programming contributions to the project.

But, as was mentioned at the start, the album is entirely in Swedish.  If you're willing to put in the effort to figure out the lyrics, or if you don't mind not being able to understand the lyrics all the time, this album might be up your alley.

Alex Klages 11/7/99

This Swedish quintet has put together an album that can best be described by the following run on sentence. Upp I Det Blå contains dreamy trance like music driven by an infectious beat, soft vocals and accentuated by melodic guitars, various synth samples and an omnipresent bass to give each song a unique feel and sound.  Fans of today's EMO sub genre of music and the 80's English romantic sound will find this disc quite satisfying and even more if they speak Swedish.

Despite the language barrier for this reviewer (I don't do Swedish, though it sounds nice) this CD is a nice change from anything being done on this side of the Atlantic.  The next time you're in a Stockholm record shop give this a listen to, it won't be a waste of your time.

Sam Hagedorn 11/21/99


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