Seattle-born, Nashville-based Sons of Sweden play lush, layered indie rock with sparkling melodies and shimmering soundscapes. On their new album, The Shape the Color The Feel, echoes of Cocteau Twins, The Cardigans, and early U2 can be heard in songs that explore the darker moods and brighter vistas of Spoon, Interpol, and Phantogram. The high intensity single “Blue Hotel” is fast becoming a radio favorite, charting CMJ and Triple A stations alike, pioneered by Nashville’s own Lightning 100.
In 2013, the band launched a highly successful crowd-funding campaign via Kickstarter for their collaborative film+music venture, The Shape The Color The Feel. The project attracted the attention of many, including Huffington Post who called the “effort to bring the best of the past and the present together" "admirably ambitious," going on to say, "the real beauty of the project is that just as it seeks to recapture some of what music has lost to technology, it’s utilizing the same technology to make that happen.” They were speaking to the vast scope of The Shape The Color The Feel. which would be released not only in the traditional record format on 180-gram vinyl and compact disc, but also as a visual album, imagined well before Beyonce’s midnight surprise hit the streets.
It began with a rebirth, as front woman Kate Tucker moved from Seattle to Nashville via NYC, where she met Wes Chandler and Ethan Place, two musicians recently relocated from southern Illinois. Their combined sound was closer to the first Sons of Sweden record than it was to Tucker’s solo Americana work, so with the blessing of the original Seattle lineup, the Sons of Sweden name was resurrected.
Produced by Konrad Snyder (Kopecky Family Band) at The Brown Owl in Nashville, with additional production from Jordan Lehning, The Shape The Color The Feel was a collaborative effort from the beginning. Original Son of Sweden Nic Danielson joined the new lineup in Nashville to put his signature spin on the tracks, and singer-songwriter Matthew Perryman Jones lent his voice to a song, as did Wilder Embry, and Hannah Holbrook of SHEL. Strings were tracked at Juilliard School of Music in NYC.
Upon completion, Tucker turned the record over to a group of filmmakers and artists, handpicked by the band, asking each of them to choose a song and create a visual expression of it. The first of these aural and visual pairings, “Looking Around,” premiered on the Vinyl District, with “Best Friends’ Love” and "Blue Hotel" both debuting on Esquire.
In addition to the short films and music videos, Australian artist Jessie English created a series of wet process photograms based on each song. The Shape The Color The Feel visual exhibit opened in Nashville last year and will continue to travel to select cities throughout the next year.
As this all unfolds, Tucker and filmmaker Miriam Bennett are working on a documentary featuring the creative community that has emerged throughout the project. For Sons of Sweden, The Shape The Color The Feel is a sort of homecoming, but it’s also a leap into the great unknown.