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Sluta Leta - Semi Peterson

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Artist: Sluta Leta

Album: Semi Peterson

Label: Mego

Review date: Sep. 27, 2004

After releasing four 12"s on four different labels, Sweden’s Sluta Leta has finally put out at what is for most bands a statement of arrival, its first full-length album. Putting together elements of Euro-pop and complex dance music and techno, Semi Peterson would seem to be that culmination. Pop albums driven by eccentric twists of electronic effects are in vogue, given the success over the last several years by artists The Notwist, The Postal Service, et al. That precedent considered, Sluta Leta’s Semi Peterson can only be called a failure, not because it’s a particularly terrible album, but because it’s safe and mediocre in every way and fails to display any sense of coherent musical principle at work.

This should come as no surprise to those who may have paid attention to their recent lineup changes; all four members have changed, obliterating the cohesion that a band can gain over several releases together. The original foursome of Bent Liljstad, Jonas Bergkvist, Yngwie Moskowich and Anders Rydberg has disbanded, and the current lineup is spearheaded by Mego label heads Andi Pieper and Ramon Baueron with the help of multi-instrumentalist Gerhard Potuznik (of Gerard de Luxxe, Io, Private Lightning Six, Maeuse). Thus, what should be Sluta Leta’s payoff is an anticlimax, since the group on this record is actually not Sluta Leta, just session musicians.

The album’s best moments come towards the beginning, when the band sounds like a Boards of Canada clone – the easygoing shuffle of groovy beats marked by keyboard progressions are as interesting as they are danceable. The album opens with a strong pop single as well, the appropriately titled “Yea Song.” The experimentation, however, loses its way into mere exercise, unimaginative and safe. It’s a shame that the original quartet of Liljstad, Bergkvist, Moskowich and Rydberg weren’t able to see their ideas come together for this project. It’s also a shame that Pieper and Baueron continued it; this will be a dull spot in the otherwise luminous catalogue of Mego.

By Joel Calahan

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