There’s just something so comfortable and relaxing about the laid-back sound of Swedish retro-styled rock group, Svvamp. I called their first outing the perfect debut, as it was a flawed yet wonderful mix of potential and pastiche. Svvamp was a throwback blues rock jam session that came alive because of its reverence for its source material (think Cream, CCR, and Free) without sounding like a sheer copy-paste job. There were a few relative bangers (“Oh, Girl”, “Burning Down”) that rose above the fuzz to deliver an electrifying bit of early psych rock.
While Svvamp was defined by its peaks and potential-laden valleys, the group’s sequel offers up a more focused and stripped-down end result. Instead of a mix of songs that ranged from fine to damn fine, Svvamp 2 splits the difference, with an album chocked full of high-quality (if a bit same-y) retro rock goodness. The first ten songs are all consistently pretty damn good, but they feel stripped bare of anything other than the band simply having a good time. There are no freak-outs or sudden bursts of energy. The recording is much warmer and rounded out, but that also tends to file off the more rugged edges that made the group’s debut so endearing. Instead, Svvamp have simplified their template, resulting in an album where all but the last song basically bleeds together. Not a single one of the tunes falters, but neither to any leave any lasting impression. It’s not until the relative bombast of closer “Alligater” where Svvamp really come alive, and it’s a shame they waited so long to fully introduce themselves.
That said, this relative flattening out results in an album that is easy like a sunny Sunday morning. It doesn’t ask much of the listener, and the “good vibes” feeling of the songs can’t help but bring a smile to my face. If Svvamp was a debut full of promise, Svvamp 2 is a record that succeeds without quite capturing the fullness of that early potential. It’s too fun and free to care about being anything else but a good time, anyway.