Brisk and anthemic, “No Miracles” launches into place via a Stax Records beat, all bass and drums (and yeah there’s a keyboard somewhere in there too). Within six seconds, front man Niklas Gustafsson joins in; he’s got that Martin Fry-like gravitas/melodrama thing going. His breathing is part of his singing. The melodies seem all tops and bottoms. “No Miracles” quickly and unassumingly establishes a presence, a central core of lean and worthy sound; we are paying attention; this is sneaky good stuff.
And then the chorus: pure pay dirt, with its descending-melody hooks, at once plaintive and powerful, and its mixture of blurred and concrete lyrics that both grab your ear and leave you guessing. This Year’s Model is a Swedish band that does not sound like a Swedish band, even though there is no one way a Swedish band sounds. The quintet seemingly takes its name from Elvis Costello but doesn’t imitate him in any apparent way; they make music, instead, that has learned from him—perhaps the truest tribute of all.
“No Miracles” is from the band’s second album, We Walk Like Ghosts, released in February on Marsh-Marigold Records. MP3 via the band’s site. Thanks to visitor Gustav for the lead.