Today is New Release Day. Every Friday is New Release Day. For our musical pleasure, this particular Friday is the debut album of Swedish artist Manuela Iwansson, Dark Tracks. I didn’t find the overall scope of the album dark other than its lamentations of lost love. And those lost loves are not always dark; some feel more like being set free, having a weight lifted from our shoulders.
The first track from Dark Tracks is titled Strangers on a Train, giving the first glimpse of the dark side of the tracks.
“A steady pace along dark tracks
I’m letting go while looking back.”
Dark Tracks may be an ode to lost loves, be it platonic or intimate, but the music propels those words forward with a frantic energy that feels like we can’t get away fast enough. Or, we may have to blast away from The Boys of Summer so we don’t remain maudlin and rooted in our emotional pain.
The song Dead Weight has a great line in it,
That’s getting lighter
It’s too heavy carrying you around
When you’re already gone.”
That, my friends, is one of the best examples of clinging to things in our past that weigh us down. Dead Weight that adds nothing to our lives. Dead Weight that holds us down and keeps us from being set free.
Dark Tracks has brilliant music that delivers those lyrics to us without detracting from their meaning. Manuela Iwansson is fond of the 70s & 80s female artists like Pat Benatar, Laura Branigan, and Suzi Quatro. She cites early new wave and punk like The Go-Go’s, X, Gun Club and Grace Jones as influences on her and her music.
When asked, “What genre does your music fall into?” Manuela answered “Rock/post-punk/new wave/punk.” I can irrevocably endorse Dark Tracks because Manuela’s musical influencers also heavily influenced my listening patterns. I easily picture myself in 1978 at the roller skating rink with Leather, the last cut on Dark Tracks, blasting out of the speakers as I did laps around the rink. I would also add a few more of my favourite roller derby songs to the playlist at the rink, Psycho Killer and Rock Lobster.
Dark Tracks is good music from start to finish. Not Finnish, Manuela Iwansson is Swedish, and this album will rock the winter away. The album features duets with Bria Salmena (Orville Peck, FRIGS, Bria) and Jack Ladder (Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders), as well as a stellar lineup of some of Sweden’s finest musicians: Henrik Palm (Henrik Palm, In Solitude, etc.), Elias Jungqvist (Viagra Boys, etc.), and Erik Klinga (Simian Ghost, etc.), among others.
The album ‘Dark Tracks’ is available on all streaming platforms through Lack of Sleep Records.
Discover more about Manuela Iwansson at: