Albums or EPs carrying a sound like Marie Dahlstrom’s latest project tend to fall into two categories. Boring and monotonous with possible flashes of what could have been, or a great listen that lends its quality to the almost hypnotic tones that its music possesses. Gloom ; slips seamlessly into the latter category.
The pace barely changes from one song to the next and by design or otherwise, the mesmeric tones backing Marie’s melancholic tones can, and have been readily associated with albums that haven’t cut the mustard. Once I listened to Gloom’s “intro” and the way it carries the same sensuous (should I be using that word?) guitar, bass and piano into the first full song, “My Everything” – which then adds easy on the ear rim-shots and a haunting synth – that description is a positive.
There are some slight variances to the common theme with The heavy bass line of “I.O.T” (featuring an underused Jamal Rose) and the soft stuttering snares of “Whats It Gonna Be“, offering a semi-departure. Plus the mid-to-late 90’s Neo Soul swing of “Reunion” sees Gloom at its most vibrant.
Part of the overall appeal is the EPs contents do not overplay their hand. There are none of the very common three minutes of verses and hooks, plus that oh so tedious three and a half minutes of nonsensical warbled wailing. Even by far and away, the EPs longest song at 5 minutes and 7 seconds long doesn’t waste any of its airtime.
Conceptually there is nothing out of the ordinary, and the same can be said for the subject matter; but what is on show is accomplished and well executed. It is abundantly clear that Marie hasn’t simply taken a bunch of songs and thrown them together, but she has made sure that those choices supplement each other (the Intro and My Everything for example).
Gloom is a good solid collection, which serves as an introduction of sorts, to Marie Dahlstrom ,who is a great talent. The title may be Gloomy, but the future could be bright.