Despite being formed in 2009, Sans Parade – an indie-rock trio two thirds Finnish and one third Swedish (amongst a studio support cast of several others) – had released only a handful of songs prior to last month, when they released their self-titled debut album. For that, they had good reason. They were working on it.
The band described their journey to the album’s release as ‘long and arduous’, and it’s easy to hear why when listening to the album opener ‘The Last Song is a Love Song’. Not that the song is strained, difficult, or heavy with conflict. It isn’t. Rather, it appears to have been meticulously crafted from the bottom up, thoughtfully structured and arranged, and fastidiously tinkered with to achieve the most accomplished opening statement the band could ask of themselves.
It’s obvious in the choice of instruments, the way they’re played, what they’re accompanied with and when: they’ve all been given a consideration rarely seen amongst fresh upstarts, let alone more experienced outfits. The familiar quiet-loud post-rock dynamic is employed with no eye-roll backlash; instead, the guitar-embellished string section behind singer Markus Pertulla is dynamic and expressive, offering a contained, delicate intensity in the verses, swelling at the bridge, and then throwing it all to the sky for the eruptive chorus. It’s a chorus that begs to be played loud, and you’d do well to oblige.
It’s clear that Sans Parade have not just aimed for, but doggedly pursued, a first impression that both they can be proud of and their listeners are sure to remember them for. That requires ‘long and arduous’ work to become a reality, yet the band achieve it. In a time of the aggressively championed impulsive and the unfairly derided cautious, this change of pace to very slow and very steady is admirable. The return itself: wonderful.
So ‘The Last Song is a Love Song’ is a love song itself. Not conventionally, not in the sense that a man loves a woman, a dog loves its master, or misery loves company (although the first theme is lyrically present). This is a love song in the conception and creation of a love song. This is a love song in the details. And that’s why I love it.
Sans Parade was released 15/2/13 and is available via the band’s website.