Swedish new wave punkster MANUELA IWANSSON‘s debut album ‘Dark Tracks’, out now via Lack of Sleep Records, is a long-awaited effort that is the result of almost four years of work after unveiling her self-released EP ‘Dream Lover’ in 2018. Highlighted by the 80s-esque, gritty synth-pop anthem that is focus track ‘Strangers on a Train’, the album flaunts a musical journey that takes from the callous rock stylings of the late 70s and mixes them with the new wave evolution characteristic of the Blondie era, all serving to present an alluringly dystopian listening experience that lingers on the beauty of impermanence.
‘Dark Tracks’ is unrelentingly self-explorative. Iwansson wears her heart on her sleeve for anyone to see as she belts across the ten tracks, familiarizing listeners with a darkness stemming from unmet desire and lovers lost. The album plays like a jukebox with every song standing on its own as a vintage and vigorous tour de force.
Iwansson had this to say about the fabric of the project: “The album is basically a portfolio of me. It is very much a debut album – a little rough around the edges at times, but made with a lot of heart. I put a lot of thoughts into the lyrics, and a lot of emotion into the melodies. At times I play around with words a lot, and I constantly want to improve my writing … The whole project is about 80s aesthetics with 70s punk vibes; grit, rain, cities at night, neon lights, trains, and cars, and movement; leather and lace and rock ‘n’ roll. Nothing ever looks as good as a photo booth photo in black and white.”
The Stockholm-based artist once toured the world with punk outfit Terrible Feelings but now looks at her solo career as an opportunity to make timeless new wave hits, boasting a sound inspired by influences such as Pat Benatar and Suzi Quatro yet entirely her own. With ‘Dark Tracks’, makes a point of crafting earworm hooks and choruses that work in the middle of a rowdy yet heart-wrenching punk aesthetic.
Following the release of her EP ‘Dream Lover’, Iwansson served as an opener for Orville Peck on a full European tour in 2019, simultaneously releasing a series of singles and chipping away at her debut LP over the next couple years. While hard at work in preparation for its release, she has still found her way on stage this year, opening for Viagra Boys, Molly Nilsson and Current Joys this spring.
‘Strangers on a Train’ + ‘Dark Tracks’ are now available on all streaming platforms. Have a listen below…
Must Listens: Strangers on the Train, Loving Is Easy, Dead Weight