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I’m From Barcelona: Forever Today

B

I'm From Barcelona

Album: Forever Today
Label: Mute

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After exploring slightly darker corners on 2008’s Who Killed Harry Houdini, I’m From Barcelona returns to brighter territory on Forever Today, an album in the sunny mold of the Swedish group’s debut, Let Me Introduce My Friends. The 27-member collective helmed by singer Emmanuel Lundgren creates sprawling orchestral pop with a kitchen-sink mentality, and on Forever, synths and propulsive percussion give the songs even more texture and energy. Vocals and instruments weave together in cohesive arrangements, a result of the band’s decision to record the entire album together live in the studio. On the chiming opener, “Charlie Parker,” handclaps and horns punctuate the chugging percussion, while “Get In Line” finds the band joyously (and defiantly) yelling the refrain “We don’t want to get in line” as a woozy synth hook winds around Lundgren’s deadpan delivery. Like the similar Polyphonic Spree, I’m From Barcelona delivers its songs with genuine enthusiasm and conviction while side-stepping pained earnestness. When Lundgren urges, “You gotta stay true to your heart / Don’t let ’em get to you” on “Can See Miles,” the song’s epic sweep is inspiring rather than cloying. While Forever Today doesn’t break any new ground for I’m From Barcelona, it’s a refinement that’s resulted in the band’s most consistent album yet.