Release Date: April 18, 2007
Label: V2 Records
Well, it doesn’t really matter what you look like when you release something this good. Laakso have officially arrived with their third full-length, which can only be described as a masterwork. The band has proven mildly popular for the past few years with their unique brand of rock music, but with Mother, Am I Good Looking?, they’ve blown their sound wide open and created something ambitious in scope, fearless in melody, and altogether essential. With any luck, it should be the record that this band is remembered for.
First single Italy vs. Helsinki (featuring Peter Jöback’s demure croon) is a bit of a red herring. Pure schlager through and the through, the song soars, managing to at once be ironic, satiric and drop-dead gorgeous. Things only improve from there. Hang Me In The Christmas Tree and Dropout are terrific pop songs… chugging synths, anthematic choruses, and front man Markus Krunegård’s wonderfully bizarre vocals. It’s pop music with a definite edge to it. Norrköping and Västerbron both use elements of place to evoke vastly different emotions, the former a catchy look back at a universal childhood and the latter a sorrowful remembrance of the past. Even more successful are The Death Of Us and Stay Tuned To My Love, each an anthem in the waiting. The Death Of Us, particularly, is a twisting ride of a song, beginning as a ballad and dropping unexpectedly into a fast paced, fist pumping chorus.
Mother’s main strengths are its inventiveness and consistency. It is unmistakably pop music, but it’s pop music of such a unique caliber that the listener is continually surprised as the album progresses. Krunegård is able to deftly switch between tones and squeeze every last drop of emotion from each track. He is the album’s secret weapon… the magic quality that transports pop songs to artistic statements, and what gives the album a real personal sense, even in its go-for-the-glory catchiness. A
Key Tracks: The Death Of Us, Italy vs. Helsinki, Norrköping