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The Perishers - Introducing Sweden's finest

The Perishers

Feature by Jack Foley

THE Perishers believe their beautifully crafted songs read as a melancholy paean to life in their hometown of Umeå, Sweden, where the dark, snowcapped winters stretch from October to April.

On their UK and US debut Let There Be Morning, the band have written a shimmering collection of stark and evocative songs that leaves the listener with an unforgettable feeling of both inspiration and pathos.

“It’s very hard to write immediate songs,” says the band’s vocalist/guitarist Ola Klüft. “We write songs that creep into you and stay there.”

Surprisingly, the harsh surroundings have helped – or rather forced the band to find their collective muse.

“We live in a small town in Sweden, far away from where everything happens. In the north, the winters are very, very long and cold and dark.

“It affects me a lot,” says Klüft. “When you’re happy, you don’t have the time to write music because you’re doing something else. When you’re a little bit low and it’s cold outside, that’s when the inspiration comes.”

Let There Be Morning reflects this perfectly. Swelling piano and delicate melodies cradle Klüft’s soft, disarming vocals. His graceful interpretation of the world taps into everything from the desperate hope for the end of the workweek (Weekends) to addressing the great beyond (Let There Be Morning), and of course, a few testaments to love.

Looking toward great, often gloomy, lyricists such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young for inspiration, Klüft nails universal themes on the lovelorn standout, Trouble Sleeping – which also marks the band’s debut single.

“We want people to ultimately find comfort in the songs,” says Gustafson. “Even a song like Let There Be Morning, which is about somebody who is about to die, is very hopeful because something better is waiting.”

Klüft is also able to stir up intense emotions in a rather unique way. Since English isn’t his first language, he’s able to connect his music with listeners without fully putting his own heart on the line.

“I spend a lot of time writing lyrics,” he says. “But it would be even harder for me to write in Swedish than English. It’s so much easier to say ‘I love you’ then it is to say ‘jag älskar dig,’ which is ‘I love you’ in Swedish.

“I can’t really explain it, but a lot of Swedish people feel that way. I can hide behind the English words in a way that I can’t hide behind Swedish words.”

Like anything worth enjoying though, it took time to get to this point. And it hasn’t been quick.

Klüft and Gustafson are lifelong friends, while the rest have been playing together in one form or another since 1997.

They signed a record deal with Swedish label MNW/Nons in 2001 and recorded their debut disc, From Nothing To One. The album received solid reviews and the band successfully toured outside of Sweden, with stops in Norway, Holland and Taiwan. Soon after The Perishers got to work on Let There Be Morning.

“We had more confidence with the second album. We are a band that needs to have time. Since we know each other so well, making music comes fairly natural to us. But it still takes awhile for the songs to settle for us,” says Klüft.

The praise for Let There Be Morning in their homeland catapulted The Perishers to a new level. Now they hope to share their rekindled passion with the rest of the world.

The album will be released through Red Ink (SonyBMG) and is preceded by the first single Trouble Sleeping on April 17.

Hear Trouble Sleeping