Following the successful release of his bittersweet debut single’ Too Late,’ Filip Sjögren returns with his band Hands Down and demonstrates his knack for making a pretty song. Sjörgren took a year away from working as a sound technician and producer to write a set of personal songs, so it’s no surprise that he knows the small tricks and attention to detail that makes a song work. Though the genre swings from jazz-inflected pop to indie rock, what unites these songs and brings them to life is the richness of the sound, the flow provided by the spark in Sjögren’s vision and the harmony of the individual parts working in perfect sync.
Filip Sjögren’s day job sees him working as a sound technician and producer, so it’s no surprise that he knows the small tricks and attention to detail that makes a song work. That’s clear when he hops over to the other side of the recording studio with his band Hands Down. Though the genre swings from jazz-inflected pop to indie rock, what unites these songs and brings them to life is the richness of the sound, the flow provided by the spark in Sjögen’s vision and the harmony of the individual parts working in perfect sync.
A paint roller crops up a lot in interior decorating but, as you might imagine, not so much in music. A quick search reveals only one song on Spotify that bears the title. But now that number is set to double. With his band Hands Down, Filip Sjögren has shown he has a knack for making a pretty song. But with the swaying, dreamy song “Paintroller,” he may just have hit a new level.
The tone is an essential factor in the songs of Hands Down, and “Paintroller” is blessed with a rich, carefully- detailed instrumental backdrop, with swirling synths, stings and even saxophone all mixing harmonically a flowing cloak of many colours that Filip Sjögren shapes into a song. There’s darkness in the anxieties of his lyrics, but the music keeps things warm, and when the bright chorus bursts into life, it feels like light breaking through the clouds and illuminating this sparkling pop song.
Filip Sjögren says: “The song (Paintroller) is about being coloured by everyone else and having your ideas crushed by outside forces. Not feeling very welcome to the party, both in terms of music and society, feeling peer pressure. That’s what inspired the song. I had the whole song done at one point, and then I scrapped the vocal and wrote and recorded a whole new melody and vocal. We called that demo’ paintroller,’ and so that inspired me to write the new lyrics. I have no idea why that demo was called paintroller. But it is a very visual word”.
Filip Sjögren says:” ‘Too Late‘ is about seeing relationships fade away, not specifically romantic relationships, but with friends too. The song started back in high school. I had a melody that I couldn’t play myself, so I got my friend Hannes to play it and recorded it on my phone. I used that sample to write this song five years later, though it’s not on the final version. I love the dancy, jazzy vibe of it. The acoustic piano flows so well, and the drums have that beat. It’s not disco, but it’s slow disco”.
That’s certainly evident in the song “Too Late.” A dancing piano line kicks things into motion, and from there, it grows into an elegant, dreamy pop song. It’s made up of subtle touches that mean it blooms over several listens, from the strings to the shivering bass line, and Filip Sjögren extends that subtlety to the melodies, which stay light and airy but still suck you in. In the end, “Too Late” is a little sad, but that doesn’t stop it from having effortless charm, and being sweet, breezy pop infused with the warmest of glows.
‘Meet Me At The Bar‘ kicks off as a stripped-back and raw rock and roll song but soon shakes that off. Filip Sjögren’s vocals ride alongside the rough-cut guitars until the scene shifts and transforms into a delicate, graceful pop song, the guitars swapped out for strings, and the bravado in the verses swapped out for a vulnerable falsetto. Hallmarked with Filip Sjögren’s signature songwriting, ‘Meet Me At The Bar’ is full of surprises and strange turns but has been stitched together into a song that is both sweet and cynical.
For Filip Sjögren’s, “the song is basically about me getting tired of Tinder dates. Meet me at the bar, and we will talk, and then we will go home and never see each other again. That spiralled into me, thinking I would never be able to love anyone. The music has a little kick, and I think that’s important. I always try to contrast the lyrics and the music because otherwise, it can become too sad and whiny. And I don’t wanna be a whiny guy!”
Filip Sjögren’s unique sound, production tricks, songwriting strength – not to mention the critical acclaim of Hands Down’s first few singles make the Paintroller LP an eagerly anticipated release. ‘Paintroller‘ will be available to stream the 8th of October via Youth Recordings.