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ME AND MY KITES

Me and My Kites are a brilliant Swedish band whose music combines elements of sunshine pop, chamber pop, psych, folk and more. Centred around songwriter David Svedmyr (also of Lisa O Piu), the band also includes Lisa O Piu's Lisa Isaksson, and a large revolving cast of over 20 musicians including several other members of the Svedmyr family. Their debut album Like a Dream Back Then has sold out on vinyl but is now available as a CD. Back When I Came sets a soaring pop song to an expansive, meandering psychedelic accompaniment with a certain experimental quality. Was It Like A Dream? is sophisticated yet playful pop incorporating strings and flute. My Dream, My Adventure! is a dreamlike, ethereal pop song with touches of jazz improvisation and orchestral elements. Through My Kaleidoscope is a mind-expanding, ever changing piece of free-thinking psych-pop with folky touches. A Tiny Song to Lisa is a gentle instrumental including mandolin, flute and pastoral sound effects like babbling brook and birdsong. All You'll Have is a noisier track with shades of prog and psych rock, yet still with a pop heart. Isis in Heaven, dedicated to a beloved pet who died, brings together jubilant ba-ba-bas and la-la-las with dreamlike harp and mellotron, sharing the same sense of playful positivity as The Free Design, and typifying Me and My Kites' tendency to look on the bright side even when tackling sad topics.

Is It Real or Is It Made? is Me and My Kites' brand new second album. Psykjuntan is beautiful dreamlike pop that awakens a sense of wonder. Say It's Real is a very lovely mix of US-style folk-rock and retro pop with soaring flute. Happy, then Crying combines the off-centre changeability of prog with touches of folk and vintage theatre music. The extended track Hide Away/Tonight!/Turn with the Tide/Tillbaka till Psykjuntan begins with a deep sense of melancholy on a level not heard on the debut album, then it picks up speed with upbeat piano and optimistic orchestral crescendos to wash away the sadness. Narcissus is really beautiful folky psych-pop. War is a superb track inspired by US folk-rock and jangle-pop, which was recently excerpted for a limited edition lathe-cut 7" on Fruits de Mer. I've had this song on the brain a lot lately. Curse also shows the bleaker side of Me and My Kites, though the song's pessimistic nature is juxtaposed with that sense of dreamlike beauty that this band are so good at creating. A subdued mood is also evident in the 10+ minute psych-folk-rock track Common Life, in which the listener is warned "can't afford to be naive", yet we are also told "when you find yourself lost you'll be able to find your way back"; no matter how dark the tunnel, there is always a bright light of summer sunshine at the end with Me and My Kites.

Also available is Porcelain, a 5-track CD EP compiling songs taken from singles. There's the catchy and inventive title track, the retro pop of All Blue, the wordless vocal-led sunshine pop of Isis' Adventure, and a couple of 1970s covers - Solens Všn, originally by Resan, a laid-back, dreamlike and ethereal psych-folk piece, and the psych/folk/prog track The Band, originally by Fuchsia, and featuring a guest appearance from Fuchsia's Tony Durant.

The playful and optimistic feel that characterises much of Me and My Kites' music is mirrored in the artwork. Like a Dream Back Then shows the core band members garlanded with flowers and swimming naked in a lake, whilst Is It Real or Is It Made? has them blowing huge bubbles with soapy water, and Porcelain features a cartoon of a small girl surrounded by fantastical animals and flowers. All this suggests that Me and My Kites are all about freedom and embracing those innocent, fun things that mainstream society thinks are just for kids, but which deep down most grown-ups still enjoy if they are honest with themselves. It's important to retain a sense of wonder, of positivity and of joy, and there is plenty of this with Me and My Kites. Superb, life-affirming music - find out more at their Facebook page.

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