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I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today EP review

If you had no previous background on Sweden’s I’m From Barcelona, you’d guess they were an indie pop group with the typical band setup of four or five members. But their newest album, Forever Today, fails to maximize the potential of the sheer number of musicians involved in the group. Totalling a whopping 29 musicians, the members of I’m From Barcelona expand on the standard setup of guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard by adding saxophones, kazoos, accordions and other more unusual instruments. The effect of these added instruments is minimal, though. Horns are treated only as an accent, with the more traditional instruments taking center stage. You would expect a fuller sound from a band whose members could easily fill an entire classroom.

Forever Today maintains an upbeat tempo throughout the album, but the catchiness is unrelenting and at times a little grating. The lyrics take a backseat to the melodies, with indecipherable subject matter that seems to be about absolutely nothing. The lack of range or depth leaves the listener experiencing a sense of deja vu: Didn’t I just hear this song? Practically indistinguishable from one another, every song blends together into a frenzied jumble of bland indie pop.

I’m From Barcelona’s cheerful energy is one of their strong points, but Forever Today doesn’t showcase it so much as it bleeds it dry. One or two slower songs would have been a nice addition to balance out the upbeat nature of the rest of the album. Perky can be a good thing in limited quantities, and in the world of indie pop it’s almost a necessity. But too much can be exhausting. Forever Today’s overdose on energy detracts from its potential to achieve something actually joyful rather than just forced enthusiasm. Indie pop could use some rejuvenation, but for the time being I’m From Barcelona will fade into the background as just another group until they produce something more than just the generic soundtrack to a forgettable indie romantic comedy.

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