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First emerging into the public consciousness during the mid 2010s, Amateur Hour is the trio of Dan Johansson, Hugo Randulv, Julia Bjernelind. While relatively constrained in its membership, even here we’re able to capture a glimpse of the overlapping intersections of Gothenburg’s collaborative scene. Johansson and Randulv also work together within the city’s more well-known supergroup, Enhet För Fri Musik, while Randulv and Bjernelind came together within Westkust and Typical Girls.

Like much of the music currently emerging from Gothenburg, the music produced by Amateur Hour is a fascinating hybrid of thoroughly digested, nearly unrecognizable touchstones that culminate as an irreverent, playful music entirely of its own image. Rumbingly in the ambience are the imprints of 1960s and '70s Swedish progg - the often ramshackle, politically charged movement that gave us Handgjort, Turid, Philemon Arthur and The Dung, Träd, Gräs & Stenar, and numerous others - industrial music of the '80s and '90s, numerous forms of free improvised music, shoegaze, the DIY spirits of punk and post-punk, and a countless number of others. That said, perhaps most notable is a lingering sense that the band is the product of three friends that got together to make pop music, but whose free-spirits and rigorous sense of creativity was allowed to produce whatever it might.

The band’s first LP, “Amateur Hour”, originally issued by Förlag För Fri Musik and now returning to the fold after years out of print via Appetite, was the first opportunity to catch a glimpse of this distinct sound and approach, albeit fairly limited to the reach of the album’s tiny edition of 100 copies. Here we encounter a project deeply invested in ambience, space, and a sense of mood, with the pointedly DIY character of the recordings contributing heavily to each. Captured in a way that feels like a microphone was haphazardly tossed in a corner and left to do its thing, hazy melodies and vocal make ephemeral nods to legacy projects like Cocteau Twins and Mazzy Star, shifting between moments of explicit song, bristling passages of experimental abstraction, and works that tread an inexplicable line between the two.

Drawing the ear into an entirely singular world, it’s little wonder why Amateur Hour, upon the release of their first LP, became one of the most talked about contributors to Gothenburg’s incredible sound, and the album rapidly went out of print, becoming one of the most hotly pursued artefacts of that scene. Blending the temperaments of folk, left-field pop, and shoegaze with a striking realisation of DIY experimentalism and broken electronic music, it’s hard to think of a better record to crack open what the scene to which they belong is all about.