Born out of the dire situation of not being able to perform or make music per se during last year’s lockdown, Swedish singer, songwriter, and pianist Ida Sand has come up with a stylish pop/soul album called “Do You Hear Me?”, to be released on the German ACT Music label this Friday. And on vinyl too! What started out as a session with her longtime keyboardist and organist Jesper Nordenström, ended up with 10 songs and a group of musicians like Per Lindvall on drums and percussion, Dan Berglund on bass, and Ola Gustafsson on guitar, rounded up with a few special guests on brass, vocals, and harmonica.
The result is a singer/songwriter album with all tracks penned by Ida herself. Highlights of this pretty enjoyable set can be found midway through the album. The instant classic “Now Is Not The Time” sounds like the slickly produced, timeless West Coast blue-eyed soul pieces of the late 70s/early 80s. Ida’s voice remains to be one of the most distinguished in Europe, with a vast array of different sides, from elegant to robust, from tender to firestorm, always with a charming color which makes you want to hear more and more.
The other pivotal track here reminds me of one of the bittersweet tracks of Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie: “Sweet Child” is another one of those perfect pop songs you don’t find a lot these days. Instrumentation is sparse and more on the folk/indie side of things and has some Joni Mitchell elements in it as well. Some of the pieces, like the intimate “Too Close For Comfort”, are skidding towards rather slippery roads, but Ida compensates with wonderful background vocals. “Where Did All The Good Times Go”, she asks on the forceful album opener “Wasted On The Youth”, as if she wants to remind us how serious our current situation is. She turns bluesy on “Burning”, wistful on “Can You Hear Me Now”, and ruefully arcane on the soulful “Waiting”, augmented by Mats Öberg on harmonica.
I like the Phoebe Snow-ish shuffle of “Don’t Run Away”, where Ida is accompanied by Goran Kajfeš on trumpet and Per Johansson on sax. Turns out to be a sunny and bright endeavor. Ida concludes with a wonderful ballad which sounds like a Swedish lullaby. “Go Be With Her” is the perfect exclamation mark to an altogether satisfying new Ida Sand experience.