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loneydear alanternandabell
Artist: Loney Dear
Title: A Lantern And A Bell
Genre: Folk Experimental
Release Date: 26th March 2021
Label: Real World / Caroline Records

Album Review

Having PETER GABRIEL describe you as “Europe’s answer to BRIAN WILSON” and then signing you up on his label, is never going to hurt your career. But Sweden’s eccentric troubadour Emil Svanangen - under the pseudonym of LONEY DEAR - was doing well enough anyway, as these eccentric and relatively obscure performers tend to do. Quietly picking up fans and admirers, shedding increasingly proficient albums, and then emerging each time stronger, yet with all the initial integrity still intact. He was even signed to the Sub Pop label for a time, and it doesn’t get much more “real” than that.

There’s just one thing, before we delve into the strange workings of the nautical themed ‘A Lantern And A Bell’. That voice. It’s either a thing of beauty, or an instant turn-off, and to reach the delights that exist within this album, there has to be a reconciliation with it. An odd falsetto, once it’s settled into your consciousness, it soon becomes central to the whole, and the first few moments of confusion, settle down into coherence.

Voice and piano get things going, and there’s a gentle drama from the off, a rolling surf gently swelling to a dignified swoosh of emotion. It’s very, very beautiful. ‘Habibi’ is a far more playful narrative, with a folky chorus, and ‘Trifles’ could be DAMIEN RICE, sitting on a hill somewhere, singing to a field of dandelions while a choir emerge mysteriously from the overgrown fields to help the song on its way. There’s even a bit of whistling in there, and it’s not annoying. Now there’s a thing.

Moods come and go here very much like a crowded, clouded sky. A bluesy easiness shuffles through ‘Go Easy On Me Now’, there’s a solemnity to the fabulous ‘Oppenheimer’ and a throwaway simplicity to the far-too-brief ‘Darling’. And closing track ‘A House And A Fire’, philosophising lyrically about change, takes a classic folk-song structure and makes it highly personal. It feels like watching a man singing alone by a dying fire, discussing his life with himself and the glowing embers. You shouldn’t be there really, in this private moment, yet it’s so captivating, and beautifully human, that you linger, transfixed.

There is indeed something very special going on here, but equally, there is no doubt much of LONEY DEAR’s world is somewhat niche - these are songs that will never play out in stadiums and arenas. Hopefully anyway. Maybe it’s wrong to wish a performer only a medium amount of success, but you just can’t help feeling that Emil Svanganen is exactly where he should be, and too much deviation from that place would ruin a very fine thing indeed.


01. Mute/All Things Pass
02. Habibi (A Clear Black Line)
03. Trifles
04. Go Easy On Me Now (Sirens + Emergencies)
05. Last Night / Centurial Procedures (The 1900’s)
06. Oppenheimer
07. Darling
08. Interval/Repeat
09. A House And A Fire


Emil Svanangen

Website /

Cover Picture

loneydear alanternandabell


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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