Stina Nordenstam’s simultaneously tremulous and tremendously moody The World Is Saved is something of a homecoming for the Swedish songstress after her stint working across the Atlantic, and it plays like a tinny, rueful morning-after album from a land where mornings stretch like taffy during the lazy days of summer. And Nordenstam’s red-eyed songs sound like fatigued lullabies, worn out from the surfeit of variations that have been launched in reluctant reaction to the eternal twilight. “The Morning Belongs To The Night,” indeed. Now, I’m no morning person, so I have no idea what it feels like to contemplate the grind of a string of 19-hour Stockholm days. And I’ve never had to end a relationship that I wasn’t positive I wouldn’t like to continue (in other words, take the triple negative as a confirmation of my adamantly anti-romantic approach to love). So the delicacy with which Nordenstam combines her particular brand of somnambulistic musical drones with the self-mistrusting sentiments of “Winter Killing” (“I’m safer with me here/And you there”) might only be theoretical to my sensibilities. But it’s no less effective or gorgeous for it, awash in warmed-over, ever-so-slightly sharp guitar and piano fills and a submerged hip-hop ballad pulse. This particular song, in the milieu of The World Is Saved, constitutes “upbeat.” Elsewhere, the tony, Bartok-esque strings of “I’m Staring Out The World,” the doldrummy piano bassline of “Get On With Your Life” (like a whodunit riff in search of a detective to solve it), and the primacy with which Nordenstam’s voice is placed in the mix (frequently without filters, occasionally double-tracked) put an emphasis on intimacy that’s all the more ironic coming from a singer who appears to be more satisfied swirling in the gauze of mystery. So, leave it to the remix chefs (Pluxus and Faultline, respectively) to whip up an incongruous batch of chicken soup for the dance floor as a morning-cap.
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