I wonder if its possible to grow up in Sweden and not be influenced by ABBA. It’s like growing up in Britain and not being influenced by the Beatles or growing up in Australia and not being influenced by Kylie Minogue; it’s impossible! But Sweden’s Sambassadeur takes their love of ABBA a step further; by mimicking their sound while adding a few more modern influences, they have successfully shown what it would have been like if Ann-Frid or Agnetha had gone solo after ABBA’s demise.
It may seem mean or unfair to pigeonhole a band like this, but the resemblance to ABBA really is uncanny. The piano hits on “Days” are straight out of “Dancing Queen”. The violins in “I Can Try” remind me of “Knowing Me, Knowing You”. “Forward Is All” has the rolling drums with overlaid acoustic guitars of “Fernando”.
But that’s not to say that every song can be compared directly to a track from ABBA Gold. “High and Low” has the delicate pop sound of Camera Obscura. “Small Parade” is more indie rock than anything ABBA ever did. It’s sounds like Belle and Sebastian with a guest guitar solo from Doug Martsch. The only downside with sounding like ABBA is that when you do not sound like ABBA, it’s a little bit of a let down. Luckily, there aren’t too many songs that don’t have any ABBA aspect to them.
The music is the perfect competition of lush instrumentals, pop song writing, and beautiful female vocals. European really delivers delicate Swedish pop more than any release in recent memory.