Until 2006 Kristoffer Gildenlöw plucked bass for Sweden’s Pain Of Salvation along with brother Daniel. He then relocated to Holland and set up shop with bands including Dial, but recently found himself pulling away from progressive rock and onto a darker, more introspective path.
His vocals on this polished solo album are intimate and fragile, his feelings seemingly sandpapered to the nub by the very friction of life itself. Opener Callout sets the tone – low, spare, with throbbing bass and tremulous guitar.
Flashes of the Cavanagh Brothers here and throughout, a dash of David Gilmour too in the bluesy, emotive guitar solos. Desire has a lovely, spare piano part and female counter vocal from Erna auf der Haar, and there’s moving fretless bass on the desolate Overwinter.
The overarching theme is growing up, schooldays, Follow Me Down is coloured by cello, choral voices, and the sound of a playground buzzing with young life. In 5⁄8, it’s a rare flash of progginess on an album otherwise played straight.
Gildenlöw knows a glass is never only half-empty, and ensures there’s a strand of optimism running through this bleak but ultimately satisfying work.