...and I observed the blue sky
In number 131 of the Shindig ! magazine we got five out of five for our new album. Very encouraging for us.
For over a decade now, Us and Them have been quietly producing some of the most spellbinding music ever to permeate that already fertile regon that lies between folk and psychedelia… spellbinding because, despite there being just the two of them, vocalist Britt Ronnholm and multi-instrumentalist Anders Håkansson, there are moments where they could give the most over-staffed prog rock band a run for its money, at the same time as stripping everything so sparse that even silence would seem louder.
This is their fifth album and, in many ways, it might be their best. The opening "Where Wonder Comes From" - with keyboardist Per Lindblom filling in around the acoustic edges - is as comforting as it is haunting, but whereas that's a common thread with the duo, the dreamlike warmth seems deeper than ever before.
So do the comparisons with Sandy Denny that have clung to the band's coat-tails for so long, but only in that they inhabit that same space where lyric, music and mood are indivisible. Indeed, And I Observed the Blue Sky is less an album than it is a private performance, just you and them in the open air.
Highlights pile up; "A Blessing or a Curse," with its near-military drumbeat and Ronnholm duetting with herself, speaker to speaker. The so-evocative "Fogwalking"; the stately title track and the delightfully jaunty "In Bude" all offer overall mood a series of unexpected twists; and for a closer look into the album's recording sessions, an accompanying EP We Count the Evening Stars picks up four cover versions that were considered for inclusion, before the decision was made to keep the album self-composed.
We became so happy about this review from Finland and Dj Astro. "The production is crystal clear and superb, so this is an amazing and very enjoyable album in all aspects. Warmly recommended for chilly Autumn evenings sitting by your fire place. "
Read the whole review here:
Listening to the new Us and Them album ... And I Observed the Blue Sky is as comforting as being held in your mother's embrace, cuddling you and assuring you that everything will be alright. It has been four years since Us and Them's previous album, with ... And I Observed the Blue Sky being their third album, set for release on September 24, 2022. The Swedish duo of Britt Rönnholm and Anders Hakanson are joined this time by keyboardist Per Lindblom on three songs ("Where Wonder Comes From," "Evening Song," and "In Between Times") to enhance the duo's signature psych-acid folk sound. Brit's voice is especially soothing and hauntingly beautiful. "(Here I End Up) When I Dream" is akin to snuggling in an eiderdown comforter while her vocals remove all remnants of a nightmare. Several of the songs are slow waltzes through a bucolic dreamland, with "Fogwalking" being the album's best song. On this song Brit and Anders take you on a stroll through patchy ground fog that culminates in one of their best and most inventive musical bridges, enhanced by some beautiful Mellotron lines. Us and Them continues to grow and mature as both a band and composers: delicate songs, catchy melodies, and wistful visions. The ciosing song, "Decline," is a mysterious introspective song about growing up with the lyric "As I get older, the world gets smaller." Quite a remarkable new album and a great place for new listeners to become familiar with this wonderful band. I just hope that it won't be another three to four years before their next album.
Thanks so much for this kind review from Time Machine. "11 dreamy acid-folkie songs with great storytelling, warm and beautiful female vocals" Read the whole review here:
Rootsmusic have made a fine and ambitious review of our new album.
Writing about music blog
Us and Them is a Swedish duo. I first reviewed them when they appeared on one of the Fruits der Mer compilations doing a cover of Julia Dream or was it the Sandy Denny tribute?? The duo of Anders Håkansson and Britt Ronnholm, have been around making music since 2005 and their last full length record was in 2018. This album features 11 tracks of some very beautiful music. Inspired by UK folk, Swedish folk and more modern styles.. Where wonder comes From starts things off with acoustic guitar, keyboards (by Per Lindblom) and Britt on vocals. The way the keyboard follows the slowly spoken vocal is a nice touch. Looks like it is Clearing Up features some drums and bass as well as acoustic guitar and female voice (sometimes in layers). A beautiful song. Evening Song also features Per on keyboards. There is some flute on this track and interesting lyrics. (Here I end Up) When I Dream is quite simple but a very emotional song. Some very nice guitar parts. In Bude is a more popular like music number but also a bit dark edge with the way the bowed instrument is used. The title track features piano, keys and vocals. In between Times uses keyboards to accent the guitar on this slow moving track. Vocals are almost spoken word at times. Fogwalking uses some bells at times on this slightly faster lightly strummed acoustic number and one of the longer ones on the CD. A Blessing or a Curse (video below) and August Evenings brings some drums and bass back. Decline finishes off this new album by the Swedish duo.. Not sure if they plan to tour or what? The music is all very relaxed and laid back and quite beautiful. The band prove you can do a lot with out too much instrumentation. Enjoy...
Review from Czech
Now we got our first review from Czech and it is from the magazine UNI. With help from Google translate we understood that they like what they hear and a comparison with one of our great heroes Donovan is of course very welcome.
Review from Carry news underground
Our first review of the album is from "New underground music" and is in dutch. It is a rather long review but it seems they like it. 4 out of 5 and they write that the album is fantastic and highly recommend it. So thanks for that one.