As you can imagine, over the course of the six year history of this site, there have been an increasing number of artists who have become mainstays — including Victoria + Jean, a Stockholm, Sweden-based avant pop duo, who have risen to prominence across the European Union for a slinky and seductive sound consisting of Jean’s swaggering, seemingly whiskey fueled, bluesy guitar work paired with Victoria’s urgently sensual vocals, which evoke aching loneliness, desperate carnal desire and pride within a turn of a phrase as you’ll hear on “Why Won’t You,” which I wrote about back in November 2014.
Divine Love, the duo’s long-awaited full-length debut is slated for a Stateside release on April 29 and the album is reportedly influenced by the events of the duo’s live — a period do constant moving around, including Trans-Atlantic flights between London, Stockholm, Paris, Brussels and New York. The album’s first Stateside single “Härligt Sverige” is a Victoria’s love song to her beloved homeland. As Victoria explained in press notes “The song has two voices, me as a little girl, and me grown up…they explain my happiness and frustration of missing so much Sweden…I’ve always imagined while listening to this song a mermaid calling out to a Viking sailor, to join her to her home country, Sweden.” And as a result the song possesses a lilting and plaintive quality that does sound like a siren calling out to sailors to sea . . . It’s also the most dramatic and cinematic song that the duo have released to date as Western-inspired guitar chords played through subtle layers of reverb and propulsive drumming are paired with Victoria’s hauntingly gorgeous vocals.
The recently released music video is fittingly gorgeous and mournful as Victoria’s countrymen and countrywomen desperately go through their day. But take a careful look of the bar regulars, waitresses and other everyday folk you’ll see. Although beaten down and appearing as though something has been irrevocably taken from them, they manage the resolve to go through their day-to-day lives. And as a result, there are small moments of tenderness and beauty — most notably, the men holding our waitress’ faces with an admiring and sad looks, perhaps noticing that beauty like all things eventually fades. There’s also Victoria sitting in the passenger side of a car driving through the Swedish countryside, passing through lonely farms as she sings the song. It’s a haunting video with imagery that will likely invade your dreams.