Paga – The Evil Year

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label [URL] Svart Records
Released: 2020
Buy Album [URL] https://paga-sweden.bandcamp.com/album/the-evil-year
Band Website: https://svartrecords.com/artist/paga/

Band line-up:

Pelle & Gottfrid Ahman – All Instruments and vocals

Tracklisting:

1. Stellar Vermin
2. Enter
3. By Ends Great Glitter
4. Wholly Gone
5. Wet Star
6. Meshes In The Wild Lock
7. Water Strider
8. Olili
9. Storm

Review

Since the breakup of the iconic band In Solitude, Swedish bards Pelle and Gottfrid Ahman have worked in numerous projects with the latest being the quirky and experimental group: Paga. The group is described as “Post Punk Freakery” and it was quite freakish yet amazing how much their debut release The Evil Year came across.

To begin with, I wasn’t so sure what I was listening to as the band employ a number of instruments, I am unfamiliar with, or were tuned to sound different to the sound I’m used to. Opening track “Stellar Vermin” did put me off a tad being over 10 minutes long, but as the weird and wonderfulness of this album progressed, I was intrigued so the brothers have managed to pique one’s curiosity. This is one very good achievement in music.

As the tracks continue, there is more ambiguity to them and I was sitting here wondering “where will this go next?” An erratic album can swing both ways, either an amazing piece of originality that grabs you by the hand into a rabbit hole of wonderment; or a piece that is so dire and badly arranged you don’t want to hear what comes next. Thankfully, Pelle and Gottfrid have achieved the former.

PÅGÅ describe The Evil Year in their own words:
“Out of a great lust to encounter the unknown and to explore the boundless in us this record/work came about, in the hands of The High Spirit Rebel. We wish this may serve as great entertainment, a bad enemy, an instrument and a match.
Enter! Step in!”

Beginnings are a bit psychedelic and then we change course on “Meshes in the Wild Lock” which reminded me of 80s cop dramas with jazzy soundtracks. This definitely achieved the noir part of the album which the band mention in their description.

After that, it changes to some acoustic folk that would impress Bob Dylan and we end things on a piano-driven piece which leaves you with some heartfelt melancholia. “The Evil Year” is definitely the oddest and most unpredictable album I have been sent this year and it symbolises the wide versatility of these two brothers as they venture into the dark experimental side of the post-punk scene which is gathering momentum by the day.

I would definitely recommend this one out if you love In Solitude, Molchat Doma and their ilk or just want something that truly stands out from the rest.

It’s also noted that the beautifully outlandish artwork was made by Pelle Åhman himself with the layout by his close friend Erik Danielsson (Watain).

Deluxe ltd edition, numbered, purple coloured gatefold vinyl (first pressing limited 500 copies only!) with lyric & artwork booklet, digipak CD and digital release via all digital platforms, so be sure not to miss this!

Review by Demitri Levantis
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