• petter & the pix Good As Gold (CD, £5.75)

    label: Gung Ho

    This is the kaleidoscopic second album from the six-piece Swedish shape-shifters. ‘Good As Gold’ is a sonically and emotionally layered album, only revealing itself after repeated listens. It was recorded in live takes over just two days, and then assembled over a painstaking twelve month period. As a songwriter, Petter repeatedly roams round various genres, scoping out the boundaries in order to transgress them. ‘In the End of the Day’ sounds like an imaginary sound-off between Mumford & Sons and ‘Smile’-era Brian Wilson. Elsewhere, there are splashes of American sun (‘Backyard’), an Afrobeat bounce (‘Stuck in Between’), and the type of hushed beauty Band of Horses have perfected (‘Before I Do’). Despite all its genre-hopping, ‘Good As Gold’ retains a coherence, and its own identity, through Petter’s insatiable ear for melody. He is also a dark lyrical soul, perhaps best demonstrated on the album’s thematic and stylistic centrepiece, ‘Momentarily Lost’. Powered by a relentless beat and Petter’s gently emotive vocals, ‘Lost’ captures the elegiac intensity that bewitched fans of Arcade Fire, and builds beautifully towards its broodingly baroque crescendo. The lo-fi ‘Last Time’ closes an album that demands you go right back to the beginning, and start again. Petter is the brother of Pontus Winnberg, otherwise known as one half of Bloodshy & Avant. Whilst his brother worked with the likes of Britney Spears (notably on ‘Toxic’), Petter moved to Iceland and recruited school friends - alongside members of Múm and Gusgus - to force his own creative vision into life. In 2008, Petter & The Pix quickly and quietly released their debut album, ‘Easily Tricked’, earning US syncs, an XFM session and an iTunes Single of the Week in the process. Members of the band went on to play with the likes of Lykke Li, El Perro Del Mar, Taken By Trees and Miike Snow, before delivering ‘Good As Gold’ – a record that doesn’t so much step out of the shadows as it does race out into the light. The record comes coupled with instantly-arresting Native American cover art, courtesy of legendary illustrator Joe Belt (whose few previous commissions include James Brown, as seen on the classic 1974 album ‘Hell’).

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