November 27th, 2010

Pocketful Review by DPRP

In-depth analysis of the Pocketful sound by Dutch music site

Gert Hulshof from the Dutch music site DPRP recently reviewed all Pocketful releases except the debut album:

Pocketful are a band hailing from Sweden who consist of Jerker Rellmark (vocals, keyboards and trumpet) and Johan Engström (guitars and keyboards), together with lyricist Joakim Gralén. Pocketful formed back in 2002 out of the remains of a long gone Swedish band. After three years together they released their first album called Sparkling, after which they vanished from the scene for a while, only to come back in 2008 with their first EP release for Ovanbeck Records called A Sparrow’s Mind. In contrast to the first album the come back EP received good critiques, resulting in the re-release of a handful of tracks from the Sparkling album, aptly called Sparkling Revisited. It had taken a while before a A Sparrow’s Mind saw the light of day, but in the meantime Pocketful kept writing and recording. Two more releases were to follow in the following year – Ambigious Signs and Pocketful Evergreens.
So far so good. In my opinion it is time to give some attention to this band. The music of Pocketful is on the edge of ambient, chamber music, down tempo and progressive. You could say the music has hints of No-Man, Blackfield along with Coldplay. The music is very mellow, emotional, although there are the occasional up tempo songs. so the tenure of the music is mostly dark, ambient in style with the occasional cheerful song.
The end of 2010 sees a new EP album from Pocketful released and I was hoping to review that one along with the rest of their music, thus spanning their whole discography in one review. I have not yet received the album for review, so I need to do that next time around. Now for the individual EP’s and tracks in reverse order so the newest CD first.

Ambiguous Signs:
Ambiguous Signs contains six tracks and before I start I can say the tracks here are all of a different nature.
Voices is the opening track for this EP and how they open it – a song that could easily be released as a single and with a high potential to become a huge international hit. If the media would only pick it up and play it of course. A pop-rock tune with a Coldplay like progressive edge to it, that honestly would appeal to a very broad audience as it is a damn good pop song.
A Hint Of What Is Missing, is a mellow, emotional song in the Blackfield mould. A very good melody, strong on vocals and with the addition of a female voice for the extra effect. Not too sombre but if one feels emotionally low, perhaps not one to listen to. The track features a nice trumpet solo in the middle of the song. Addictive – you keep listening (well I do anyway).
Ever heard of Kraftwerk? Well I know Pocketful have heard of this German band, as Speak, the song I am writing about now, is electronic based with voices over. Yet in many respects it is nothing like Kraftwerk, only the electronic sounds remind of the illustrious band of Autobahn fame. The singing of Jerker here sometimes reminds of Dahl Ohme from Gazpacho.
In Wasting My Time I feel as if I have stepped into the world of the mellow, jazzy blues – like the world of Sade and the likes, Again this song differs in intonation quite a bit from the rest. The common parts between all songs so far is the emotional spirit they contain.
When The Leaves Fell From The Trees has an amazing, unbelievable and addictive nature. It amazes me over and over that these songs all are of such a high standard, yet Pocketful have not been picked up, or even worse have gone unnoticed more or less. The sheer simplicity here makes it as progressive as you can get. A minimalistic approach, with grand choruses.
Wrong – this is Pocketful not Gazpacho. Need I say more – it’s that intriguing.

Pocketful Evergreens:
The Hundred Miles is the first evergreen, your classic down tempo rock song which is nicely crafted around a basic simple theme and then by adding many different sounds the tune excels – pure craftsmanship.
Infection again is electronic based, with high pitched vocals which could be done by Aviv Geffen and Steven Wilson, albeit in a slightly altered arrangement – emotional, lots of electronic sounds.
Nobody Knows No-Man! Hell everybody here has heard of No-man, therefore I urge you listen to Pocketful, these guys can absolutely manage to reach the same high levels that No-man or Blackfield do.
And Once Again is something bands do every now and again, it is just a filler, with no additional value whatsoever. Too short to really stick to you and too long not to stay in your memory. Electro with vocals through a Vocoder I think.
With Keep The Engine Running comes along another Gazpacho like song with a solid approach by the boys. A highly intensive ballad.

Sparkling Revisited:
Sparkling is a more up tempo song than most of the other songs performed by Pocketful. It has a happy song with a strong melody and has great potential as a single. A pop rock song, but again with a Gazpacho-like feel to it.
Before The Bullfight is a cover song originally performed by none other then David Sylvian. This beautiful version by Pocketful sees Jerker Rellmark’s (almost accentless) voice fitting perfectly to the lush music. One of my favourite tracks of all an awesome cover.
Don’t Know Much is another lush track, almost chamber music with a jazzy feel all over. A continuation of what had been started with Before The Bullfight. This is the type of lush, mellow music that Pocketful do best, absolutely full of emotion. Excellent music for a weary afternoon or just to relax to.
Behind Thoughts Part 1 continues the mellow tunes – the tenure of this song is a little different, but still high on relaxing feelings. Some slightly distorted guitar work is added in this song to finish the EP off.
The more and more I listen to the music of this excellent Swedish band the more the shivers run down my spine. Granted you need to be in “that” mood to really enjoy Pocketful’s music. Well now on to the very last of the EP review in this bundle.

A Sparrow’s Mind:
This EP contains just 4 songs, with a total running time of 19:28 minutes, and is the shortest of the four EPs covered in this review. Now so far most of the music described has been down tempo, well A Sparrow’s Mind breaks the mould and starts with a more or less more up (mid) tempo song.
The title track is the starter for this EP, as said a mid tempo song with a wink to the progressive sounds of the “ever so” often mentioned No-Man and Gazpacho. Maybe it is Jerker’s voice that offers most the hints to their Norwegian colleagues. A well structured song with more guitar than most of the other songs.
The second track here is Desire. A song that works very well with good lyrics, a well sung chorus that again gives it a pop song element, but with that great mellow atmosphere the Pocketful can create. Desire is also a more mid tempo type song with a “breathing hunger” present.
She Won’t Steal My Thoughts Tonight has a mellow jazzy feeling to it and again the rich kind of sound I would expect from the likes of No-Man, but with yet again with pointers towards Sade – especially the atmosphere> A touch of brass as a finishing touch.
The aptly titled The Final Song rounds off this review. A duet sung by Jerker and Terese Oresten.
All throughout this review I have been searching for one word to describe the atmosphere in these songs. Melancholia is that word and well, it’s full of melancholia. This is Very well structured, basically straightforward music, but with a twist.

Ambiguous Signs: 7.5 out of 10
Evergreens: 7 out of 10
Sparkling Revisited: 7.5 out of 10
A Sparrow’s Mind: 7 out of 10

Leave a Reply