Audio Mixer: Mattias Glavå.
Recording information: Atlantis Studio, Stockholm; Fredrik's Place; Kungsten Studios.
Starting with their self-titled first album in 2009, the Amazing quietly built up an impressive body of work with a sound that came from a meeting of flowing psychedelic rock, gentle '70s soft rock, and just a tiny bit of cosmic folk. Their 2015 album, Picture You, is the culmination of all their work, with a combination of wonderfully rich arrangements, inspired playing and singing, and a batch of lengthy songs that both warm the heart and expand the mind. Christoffer Gunrup's vocals have an intimate beauty throughout; he possesses the kind of voice that draws the listener in closer until it feels like he's whispering directly in your ear with one arm around you for a comforting hug. The band's three guitarists are in full control of their instruments, creating a tapestry of sounds, plangent lead lines, and dramatic sonic shifts. Their skill at crafting interesting parts helps the long songs from getting the slightest bit boring or repetitive. The nine-minute title track is the album's highlight as it weaves and wends its way through the air while creating an indelible mood. Throughout the whole album, the Amazing prove themselves masters at creating an unbroken feel of woody, organic sound that's enveloping and nostalgic, but never old-fashioned or dull. Not that every track follows the exact template: the songs where they crank the guitars up and make some satisfyingly epic guitar noise ("Safe Island") or get extremely spacy ("Captured Light") help provide some nice dimension and show that the band has a fairly wide-reaching approach. The Amazing aren't really doing much that's new, and they certainly don't operate in a vacuum, as it's easy to hear how they fit into the modern music scene (somewhere in between Fleet Foxes and Tame Impala) and are influenced by the past (Red House Painters, the Verve). What they do, however, is take their influences and make them sound like nobody other than themselves. It's taken awhile for that to happen, but on Picture You, the Amazing have completely come into their own. ~ Tim Sendra