There’s a lot that seems new about this release from Storängen – style-wise there are dashes of a whole lot of different musical arenas. After listening in full though, it’s clear that there’s a passion and a strength of songwriting at the centre of his work. Less important than the genre these days is the songwriting and what you put into it – how much of yourself you allow the music to present, how well structured it is, how easily it connects and entertains or lets an audience escape. You get a good balance of all of this within Cleaned Out.
This particular fusion of genres is admittedly quite exciting, refreshing and fun yet also familiar in a comforting way. There’s a Mumford and Sons style acoustic rhythm running in the backdrop, there are some flickers of Americana, then the vocal and the melody offer something notably pop-punk inspired. There’s grit and delicacy intertwined, passion and power presented among a colourful, accessible pop backdrop. Above all of this though, standing taller than anything, is the writing, the performance, and the musicianship.
Storängen introduces his sound with thoughtful lyrics, a brilliantly uplifting musicality, and a melody-line that builds and builds before rightfully resolving. All of these qualities could either make or break an audio experience – too much of everything with little to no direction could be perceived as lostness or noise. On the contrary though, the balance seems perfect here.
The second time you hear the song, it’s familiar, so that hook melody hits hard and energizes you. It’s easy to remember it all, it’s easy to relate, and the level of influence from modern sounds is varied yet manages to come together as this one thing. With further releases it’s likely that Storängen will explore this personal sound even further – this thread of identity has the potential to burn brightly. And all the while, this style of songwriting is so deeply personal – revealing and honest in a manner that will likely reach out and relate to anyone and everyone who’s been through similar relationship turmoil.
All of this is easily likable, the meeting between the organic and electronic worlds is subtle, so the songwriting stands out, and the artist puts in a superb vocal performance that offers equal parts softness and strength – depending on what the moment requires. A brilliant song with a fantastic hook. An excellent choice for when the energy in the room is flagging, or when you need to set off on a long drive – to get somewhere new, or simply to ponder the world and your choices within it.