ALBUM REVIEW: 7ebra - Bird Hour
Updated: May 5
Malmö’s answer to Wet Leg lift off on absorbing debut
Twins are often said to share telepathic powers. What with sharing a journey from the womb into this life, for those of us who are not twins, there remains a mystical aura around these sibling duos, which can veer even into suspicion.
Making a case for endorsing the telepathy theory are 7ebra – 25-year-old Swedish twin sister duo – who this week release Bird Hour – an 11-song debut album demonstrating their complementary powers. Inez Johansson’s inviting guitar and vocal delivery spars beautifully with Ella Johansson’s assortment of keys, organ and mellotron, creating a bedroom indie album full of musical nuance and clear, yet vague, lyrics.
Pieced together by producer, Tore Johansson, who has previously worked on Franz Ferdinand’s debut album, plus LPs by The Cardigans and OK GO among others, Bird Hour is a hugely impressive first effort from the band.
Soaring highest is ‘I Like to Pretend’ – a calming song featuring lilting guitar and measured organ and mellotron contributions, which is similar in temperament to Otis Redding’s ‘(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay’. A wonderfully laidback and relaxing effort, it’s already one of the year’s best songs.
7ebra - (c) Ebba G Ågren
‘If I Ask Her’ is an uptempo indie rock song with memorable jangly guitar carrying the tune as Inez alludes to tales of unrequited love. ‘Lean’ could be described as dreampop with its hummed harmonies and woozy guitar and organ, which could easily pass for a Jockstrap song. The Wet Leg comparison is an easy one to make with a female indie duo and nowhere do 7ebra embrace this than on ‘I Have a Lot to Say’ with its quirky lyrics (‘I have a lot to say, just not to your face, your face really bugs me, I have to walk away’) and almost spoken vocals.
Most recent single, ‘Done with the Day’, conveys exhaustion aptly with its warm, grungy guitar, submissive lyrics (‘I’m done with the day, I think I’m okay with the things that have happened’) and louder, edgier vocals as the song progresses.
Other highlights include the complementary guitar and organ on opener, ‘Secretly Bad’, ‘Rude Body’s spacey ponderings on the weirdness of our physical selves and the indie rock of ‘Lighter Better’.
7ebra’s style is to repeat lyrics and allow songs to build off the sparseness of just a few sentences but this misfires on ‘Born to Care’ which includes just the one line and sees Inez reduce her vocals to monotony with little added musically over three minutes. Closer, ‘Wakey Wakey’, also sticks to the one line but to far greater effect over two minutes and with a ‘da-da-da-da-da-da’ refrain at the end as Inez yearns for clarity in a relationship (‘wake me up when you know how, how to feel about me’).
Yearning is a theme which crops up throughout the album and the twins are clearly seeking to make sense of the world at a time in their life when they are newly navigating adulthood. While some lyrics are easier to interpret than others, the Johanssons convey their feelings through their music convincingly and the 30-odd minutes spent in their world are worthwhile.
If a little unsure of themselves and the world around them now, what will they be capable of when they find their feet?! Along with Blondshell’s recent self-titled release, Bird Hour is likely to remain one of 2023’s best debuts.
Bird Hour is out this Friday (5 May) via PNKSLM Recordings