Amanda Bergman | "Docks"
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Amanda Bergman's "Docks" is that this is the most perfect album in so many respects. This is what classic long plays (LP's) are all about: 5 tracks per side that you need to listen to from start to finish, in the order they were laid down. The opening track on each side is the one that pulls you in, and the last is the one that lets you gently step off the ride. And this ride is so good that you want to get back in line again for another listen.
Amanda Bergman is probably most well-known as the voice of the Swedish indie band Amason, but she has had previous solo efforts under various names, including Hajen ("The Shark"), Jaw Lesson and most recently Idiot Wind (a reference to the Bob Dylan song of the same name). "Docks" is the debut album under her own name.
Apart from the superb songwriting, Amanda's soothing, smooth voice leads you through each song - each its own journey with varying moods and tempo. This is relaxing, feel-good music with excellent production. The album is produced by Petter Winnberg (from Amason) who contributes programming, synthesizers, bass and horns, and also features Amason member Nils Törnqvist on drums/percussion.
"Taxis" is the current single from the album and is a prime example of the upbeat, smooth pop gems on this album. The catchy chorus will have you singing or humming this for sure: "Won't you dance with me somewhere now?"
TAXIS (Official Video):
Other upbeat pop gems on this album that are similar to "Taxi" include "Golden", "Windshield", "Sitting by the River" (her voice on the bridge must sound amazing when performed live), "Flickering Lights" (one of the definite highlights of the album - a song you could imagine Bruce Springsteen writing and performing himself), and the first single from the album: "Falcons".
"Falcons" is a beautiful song that that ever so slowly builds and gathers momentum until the end when it reverts back to pure vocals and electric guitar. While the promotional video for the song does feature Amanda in parts, it's actually her mother that plays the aged Amanda.
FALCONS (Official Video):
On the opposite end, the album has its balance of slower, contemplative songs perfectly weaved, including "Sirens", "Questions" and "Fire Hits the Snow" - these are songs that you'd want to accompany you on a warm summer's evening. In particular, "Fire Hits the Snow" is nothing but Amanda, her guitar and Kristian Matsson (a.k.a. The Tallest Man on Earth) providing the perfect amount of synthesizers to set the mood of this beautiful song.
Prior to the album's February 2016 release, and not included on the "Docks" album, Amanda's version of Ted Ström's 1984 Swedish hit single "Vintersaga" was featured in one of Volvo Sweden's winter commercials. Amanda's version of the song hit the charts and can be found on most streaming digital music sites, including Tidal and Spotify. Check out the commercial, with English subtitles courtesy of Volvo, for this moving, emotional track.
VINTERSAGA (Official Extended Volvo Commercial):
Also check out Amanda Bergman's official website, Facebook page with web shop, as well as the INGRID records label page where you can find "Docks" (NGRD100) in Vinyl, CD and Cassette (yes, that's right) formats.
Side Note: INGRID is probably my favorite Swedish indie label, and has one of the most reliable web shops for international purchases. Check out their other artists - you'll be glad you did. My suggestion is to start with their VOLYM 1 and VOLYM 2 compilations that will introduce you to the INGRID family of artists.