Emil Svanängen is a young Swede who conducts his musical career under the name Loney, Dear. It took me well over a year to realize that Svanängen's professional moniker wasn't Lonely, Dear, a misapprehension perhaps aided by his catalog of wistful, earnest indie-pop tunes that sound like the work of someone who'd name his band Lonely, Dear. (It was probably also aided by the fact that, you know, sometimes I can't read words that are right in front of my face.) Svanängen is responsible for most or all of the sounds on any given Loney, Dear song, including "I Am John," from 2007's Loney, Noir.
Listening to "I Am John" is a little like hiking a trail with a gentle grade: you almost don't realize you're being lifted up, until you get to the view. The song starts out modestly, with Svanängen's nice-guy mumble over an acoustic guitar, and spends the next couple of minutes patiently adding layers: glockenspiel, brushed drums, crunching bass. Then Svanängen's singing leaps into the falsetto range, and warm organ chords flood the mix, and suddenly it all comes together. The final minute or so is the view: a full-throated pageant of noise and color that's as joyful as anything I've heard in indie rock the last couple of years.
On iTunes: Loney, Dear / "I Am John"