With its earnest, minor-key urgency and old-school instrumental melody, “Ruins” is a brisk slice of timeless power pop. Although that’s redundant, isn’t it?: “timeless power pop”? Power pop by definition is timeless. I mean, listen to “Starry Eyes.” Even when it sounds dated, power pop is timeless. Go figure.
One of the essential properties of pure power pop is a fluid melody line—melodies that either flow through a lot of adjacent notes, or describe gratifying chords. Having a sweet but not too sugary tenor lead singer (in this case, one Matthias Johansson) is a plus. Economy of expression in the process is also prized—not too many notes, just exactly the right amount—and that may be why the chorus here is so gladdening: its opening phrases (“Bite your tongue/Close your eyes”) feature a simple, half-step descending melody, the most basic descent you can make. In fact, very little about the actual music in a power pop song is remotely mysterious; the melodies are easy to understand, the song structure uncomplicated. But there is one lingering, central mystery to the entire genre, and that is this: why songs this catchy and well-executed are rarely very popular. Power pop aches to be widely loved, yet languishes as a sideshow genre, missing the commercial mark, again and again and again. I truly hope this is not the case for Seaweed Meadows and that they get all sorts of blog love and real-world success. But I’m not holding my breath.
Seaweed Meadows, a six-piece band, is based in Gothenburg, Sweden (though can’t we jettison the Anglicized name for the real one, Göteborg? how did that become “Gothenburg”? doesn’t look or sound right; but I digress). “Ruins” is the first single to be made available from the band’s forthcoming debut, Echoes of an Avalanche, which does not yet have a release date. Download the MP3 from the link above, or via SoundCloud if you would like to ease my bandwidth burden.