Kristoffer Ragnstam: Wrong Side Of The Room

Music Reviews Kirstoffer Ragnstam
Kristoffer Ragnstam: Wrong Side Of The Room

Pop whiz poses cute, slips on messy feelings

Pure pop can be wickedly seductive, as Sweden’s Kristoffer Ragnstam well knows. On his fascinating second album, the intricate soundscapes promise relief from the mundane world, with fuzzy guitars, itchy rhythms, layered voices and juicy melodies converging for a familiar yet surprisingly fresh experience. Reflecting Ragnstam’s roots as a drummer, the peppy title track sports a hot, sample-worthy percussion break, while “May I Admire Her” erupts into a rousing chorus with arena potential. But mere escape isn’t the goal: His uneasy, albeit catchy, songs expose the tortured psyches of needy characters coping with terrible relationships and gnawing cosmic angst. In the bleary “Many Ways,” he tells a lover bluntly, “We only had fun thanks to alcohol”; on the gorgeous “Heard About My Own Death On The Radio” he wallows in self-pity to moving effect. Ragnstam’s inspired fusion of frayed nerves and pretty tunes gives Wrong Side Of The Room a serious emotional wallop.

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