I was abroad for about five months and on my return the world was changed beyond recognition. The new Swedish banknotes looked like tabletop game money, the acting elite had all died of cancer or emigrated to Hollywood. And Weeping Willows were playing electronic pop.
Now, for the non-Scandinavian people out there, Weeping Willows were once a little known band covering artists ranging from Elvis to Morrissey, indeed anything sufficiently sad and heartrending. After being rocketed to fame following lavish praise from an influential music journalist, the rest of the Swedish press started hyping their ability to “make grown men cry“ just one time too many. “It seemed a bit pathetic to see the guys at the front of the audience, trying desperately to squeeze out a couple of tears because they had read about it in the paper“ one of the band members told me in an interview in 1998.
Anyway, a first album of original material in the same dramatic cry-baby vein was released to great acclaim by virtually everyone. Weeping Willows were on a roll, but with time the hype started wearing thin and the second and similar album just fuelled that process. Reading about singer Magnus Carlsson’s successful solo project in 2001 I assumed that Weeping Willows were history. I was wrong.
“Into the Light“ is a rare example of eating and keeping the cake at the same time. The band has chucked the tired sounding golden oldies style and some of their country tendencies over board while keeping their trademark broken heart® signature. Out goes the traditional and lavish rock setting with added string quartets, enter now the synthesizer for 80:s melodrama. And in this rare case, it is all the better for it. Instead of covering Morrissey, Weeping Willows is rapidly becoming The Smiths with a little Depeche Mode on top. The songs are all very direct and unfussy, the choruses immediately sticky and the mood as dramatic as ever. “Stockholm in dry white snow, lights are low, cars drive by real slow“. Mm, I know the feeling.
They were always good, but never this good. Hats off to a band on top of the world!