Kenneth Holström used to play bass with West Of Eden, a Swedish band with a love of Celtic music. Now, in partnership with Jonas Lundberg, he has formed Meek Men and describes them as “progressive folk-pop”. It’s a cumbersome label but not inaccurate although occasionally Dumdedum, their debut album, drifts into MOR-dom. There are a lot of ideas in this album with the duo backed by fifteen supporting musicians although not all together it must be said.
You can listen to, and enjoy, Dumdedum on a superficial level enjoying the shifting styles and musical textures from the jazz of ‘Diggin’’ with its superb electric guitar by Markus Karlsson to the Middle Eastern rhythms of ‘Another Kind Of Spring’. But then you’ll want to dig into the lyrics rather more deeply. The opening track, ‘I See The Horizon’, tells of an old ferry captain who, reaching the end of his career, starts to look beyond his limited world. You could take it into any folk club with an acoustic guitar and everyone would want to know where you got it. Wisely, you’d smile quietly and say nothing.
‘Humble R U’ comes next and it’s the sort of song you have to be very careful with in a world that’s forgotten the meaning of irony. It’s delivered over solid drums from Micke Nybo and more of Karlsson’s guitar and while the points it makes aren’t entirely new that doesn’t make them any less valid. The album title comes from ‘Dodo Birdie Song’, seemingly a trivial song with a jolly chorus but, again, there is a point to it if you care to look. ‘Once Upon A Time’ reflects on a married couple growing old together and asks if love is just a myth.
Dumdedum is an album you have to take your time over. It’s musically varied with some gorgeous solos on saxophone, flute, oboe and mandolin and the mood shifts from track to track but it all holds together in a satisfying way and is guaranteed to contain no four-chord songs.
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Artists’ website: www.meekmen.se