In Rotation: Promise and the Monster – ‘Red Tide’ (2011)

Promise and the Monster is a Stockholm folk-rock act with a surprisingly frigid style. Compared to Swedish sun-seekers such as Jens Lekman or Peter Bjorn and John, the band might as well hail from Antarctica. Its music, driven by the barbed, breathy vocals of Billie Lindahl, shifts between gothic chamber assaults (“Swim,” spooky-girlfriend anthem “Dorothy”) and gentler balladry, like the reverb-aided “Sibylle” and “Cory.” It’s evocative of Marissa Nadler’s shadowy catalog as well as the darker sounds of Warpaint or Chelsea Wolfe, though Lindahl’s multi-tracked harmonies manage to walk an intriguing line between edge and comfort. (The band also shares a label and an intensity of style with Jose Gonzalez.) There’s a similar balance in the album’s production: there’s just enough warming reverb to keep the songs from dying from exposure. Stream it in full on Spotify; buy it via Imperial Recordings’ store.