Swedish duo, The Lost Poets like to deliver their mix of swampy blues, rock and metal behind a veil of mystery. A carefully created persona of studied elegance, with masked faces, top hats and suits, wanders in an imagined landscape, which they have named Insubordia. In this inner world that they inhabit, they declare that they are poets and they are lost. What they produce is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.
I reviewed their impressive debut release, a critically acclaimed EP titled “Insubordia”, in 2014. This Part II (released on 26th February, 2016) is a full-length album follow-up, providing David Rosengren (vocals/guitars/piano/mandolin) and Petter Strömberg (drums/bass/piano) the space to stretch their musical palate a little.
The opening track, “Insubordia Pt.II” carries on where 2014’s Insubordia left off – be careful what you wish for; you might just get it. This band is good at slowly building intensity, just through vocal delivery and percussion, as on “Bound”. “Mouth” plays with tempo, exploding into metal. Creating an atmosphere of doom is meat and potatoes for these guys, with “Beyond Redemption” unsettling with melancholic piano and a single drum beat.
“In A Wasteland” starts with a sound akin to a factory hooter calling us to stand by our machines. It’s an aggressive metal track, but appreciating the power of contrast, a sweet piano tinkle makes an appearance briefly before the music returns to the mayhem. The Lost Poets can do epic and soft and often both in the same song.
My stand-out track is “As Long As I Am Conscious And Clear In My Mind”, which shares the thoughts of a dying man. With Rosengren’s emotional vocal and guitars, it is edgy but rather beautiful, in that way that The Lost Poets often combine the two. Rosengren’s vocal style is raw but has subtle nuances, like a razor wrapped in velvet.
I prefer the quieter, more melodic and softer moments on this record, but the loud/quiet dynamic works well, and a full-length release needs that contrast. These ten tracks overall don’t quite have the impact of the “Insubordia” EP, but it’s a collection that will burrow under your skin with each new play.
The duo’s promotional videos are elegant but menacing, matching the charged atmosphere of the songs they accompany. These lost poets look swell and will shout you dinner, but they keep an axe under the bed.
Enticingly, the duo’s internal universe is to be revealed through various upcoming projects, including a short film called “Tales From Insubordia” and a children’s book (bit of a surprise, that one) titled “The Lost Poets”. Hopefully, these portals will bring us closer to their mysterious and fascinating world.