Swedish pop trio's sparkling, shimmering debut.
The sleeve photo of the debut full-length by Swedish trio Simian Ghost seems to be making a statement about beauty. A pretty young woman stares into the camera with serene self-assurance, with -- it's hard to be sure -- a scar, birthmark or streak of mud crossing her jaw. It's a striking image, but its intent is rendered unclear by the unsullied loveliness of the songs contained within. Singer-songwriter Sebastian Arnstrom (who in fact does nearly everything else on the album as well) has a lovely high-register wisp of a voice, a fondness for chiming, trebly guitars and lush keyboard lines, and a knack for the kind of sugary melodies that feel timeless. Youth feels so effortless in its loveliness that it seems utterly insubstantial at first, but the songs are so instantly catchy, with nearly every track piling on memorable vocal, lyrical and musical hooks, that it repays repeated listening. This is the sort of album you'll want to play on the first warm afternoon of spring for the rest of your life.