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Swedish singer/songwriter John Roger Olsson already has three previous records as the Grand Opening. Listening to Don’t Look Back Into the Darkness, it’s amazing that his work isn’t better known across the pond. Olsson’s reserved pop tunes burst with melody while luxuriating in intimacy, flowing through instrumentation as comfortable on an alt.country record as a chamber pop LP. Olsson’s sedate, sweet ‘n’ sour singing sounds genetically engineered to convey the repressed emotions floating to the surface here – the record mopes but never whines. “Old News,” “Towards Your Final Rest” and the lovely “Tired Eyes” come seeped in melancholia, but “There is Always Hope” serves notice that Don’t Look Back Into the Darkness is catharsis, not wallowing.
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