Albert af Ekenstam, Ashes

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Albert Af Ekenstam will be releasing his debut solo album Ashes on October 14th. The album’s release follows two singles (“Walking” and “Angel Liz”) and was created by the communal efforts of Albert, singer/guitarist Sumie Nagano, drummer/keyboardist/producer Filip Leyman and trumpeter Max Lindahl.

His reputation for moody, emotional music precedes him. Often described as “melancholic” and “lonely” (two descriptors that are among our favorites when it comes to music), Albert’s thoughtful topics, artistic lyrics, and moving melodies certainly do invoke a certain level of vulnerability and emotionality. But we don’t want you to think that his music is flat-out slow-paced or downer-y. Because it’s not.

Mostly, though, the album just rocks. Who can really say why?

While he names his influences as the likes of Explosions in the Sky and Bon Iver (we like both and you can totally hear the Explosions in the Sky influence in “Angel Liz”), listening to Albert’s album also felt like listening to Lord Huron with a healthy dose of singer-songwriter Greg Laswell mixed in. At times maybe even hints of older-era Coldplay. In case you were wondering, that’s a very, very good thing. And while it might feel a bit lonely, with his slower-paced leaden vocals and powerful voice (which is incredibly well-suited to the music, by the way), the music uplifts you and keeps you engrossed, engaged and feeling light.

Ashes is out October 14th via Kning Disk.