What started out as a recording project for songwriter Sebastian Arnstrom has become a sweeping, full band project. Under the moniker "Simian Ghost" the Swedish indie pop outfit pull from shoegaze influences like Yo La Tengo and My Bloody Valentine and pair them with soaring melodies and flawless harmonies that would make the Beach Boys proud.
The Veil is the second album the band wrote together, and though it's been receiving local praise in Europe, today marks its US release. To celebrate, we asked Arnstrom to give us some insight into the album's 18 dreamy tracks. Stream the album above and read Arnstrom's revealing track by track commentary below.
"Float" is a love letter to Brian Wilson, as well as to whoever’s listening. Sometimes I write songs in my sleep, this is the first one of those that we’ve used.
"Cut Off Point" is a direct continuation of the first one, musically. It’s about revisiting your childhood places, being all grown up, and ruined that way.
A MILLION SHINING COLOURS
"A Million Shining Colours" is a song about doing what you love, in our case music, even though it’s a pretty hopeless enterprise. At least in terms of being a proper adult, making money and that kind of stuff.
ECHOES OF SONGS (FOR TRISH KEENAN)
When we wrote "Echoes Of Songs," we thought it reminded us a bit of Broadcast, so we decided to make it a tribute to Trish Keenan and to the band. It’s a song about how when you lose someone important, you can sometimes feel them around still.
"August Sun" is a song that I wrote quite late in the recording process. I was a bit depressed at the time and this was one of those songs that you write because you feel you need to, rather than it being a fun and circus-like adventure.
THE OCEAN IS A WHISPER
"The Ocean Is A Whisper" is maybe the only real love song we’ve ever made. It’s centered around some friends of ours, who were very much in love a couple of years ago.
I WILL SPEAK UNTIL I'M DONE
"I Will Speak Until I’m Done" came out of a jam we did. The lyrics are based on a weird dream I had, where I was a girl, dumping her rich and superficial boyfriend. I just can’t with those kind of guys.
"Secret Meadow" is more of a sound collage than a song. In a way it ties into the theme on the second song. It’s about walking through a special place.
"Fight Even" is a song about questioning reality. It has an Einstein quote in it, which is a pretty sexy thing.
HIDDEN IN YOUR LEAVES
"Hidden In Your Leaves" is a song about finding comfort in the arms of someone you’ve just met. That can be a very beautiful thing sometimes.
BE A GOOD KID
Then we have "Be A Good Kid," which is an ironic rant about how you should behave in modern society. You know, the kind of things I mentioned in song three, like dressing sharp and raking in the moneys.
SCATTERED AND CARELESS
Next up is "Scattered And Careless." When we wrote this song it made us think of Bill Murray for some reason. We tried to do a lyric about him, but that turned out to be really hard, so instead I wrote a text about not knowing what to write about.
NEVER REALLY KNEW
Then we have "Never Really Knew." This, too, is a love song, but a bit less serious in tone than "The Ocean Is A Whisper." It’s about getting really hurt for the first time, how that is when you learn what love is in a way.
Then comes "Strange Light," which like "Secret Meadow" is more of a sound collage. We leave the party and walk on into the next track.
THE RIVER OUSE
"The River Ouse" is about depression. I was reading about Virginia Woolf at the time and there are some things I share with her, some problems in dealing with the world. So "The River Ouse" is meant to represent a state of being, a state I’ve luckily managed to get out of a couple of times.
This is a song I wrote to someone close to me, who got sick at the time.
Then we have "Summer Triptych," which takes the record back to a lighter place. It’s a song about enjoying skateboarding, even though you’re not especially good at it.
Like "Summer Triptych," "The Veil" is built around the same chords as the first two tracks on the record. We made it as a kind of reversed version of the opening, musically. And to make the record work as a loop if you repeat it.