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Backstrom - Animal feat. Bart Topher (Sunray Shadow)

23 January 2024

If Kurt Weill were alive today and had forged a contemporary career making off-beat, alt-folk music rather than composing strange creations for Brecht productions, this is perhaps the sort of song he would be turning out today. Oddly enough, this is the second time I have turned to Weill as a point of reference this week. And that can only mean that either the music world is getting much more interesting and diverse, or I’m becoming known as one of a dwindling number of writers who revel in writing about less mainstream types of music. (Not to mention the much, much less mainstream music and especially the music that couldn’t even see the mainstream if it stood on top of a bookcase and craned its neck at a difficult angle to look out of the third-story window of the spare room.) Either scenario is good with me.

“Animal” is a strange folk/musical theatre hybrid. This song runs on an understated musical vehicle that seems to tick along on minimal beats, plucked strings, distant neo-classical washes, and a wonderful blend of almost spoken lyrics wrapped in fragile, yet warm and hazy harmonies.

This track is taken from Backstrom’s latest album, The Carousel, which marks the Swedish artist’s return to making music after a prolonged hiatus. “Animal” alone marks him out as a unique and interesting creative force. And we need more of those in the world right now.

File him alongside artists such as Cohen and Cave and Weill and Waits. An act of administration, which in itself speaks volumes.