A Scandinavian friend introduced me to this Danish band with the tantalizing promise that they were “like” Radiohead. Personally, I don’t see any but the most superficial similarities: both groups have five members and tend to use an acoustic and an electric guitar simultaneously, both like to insert electronica effects into otherwise straight-up rock songs, and both feature self-assured lead singers with incredible vocal ranges. However, I find that Saybia lacks Radiohead’s musical complexity and lyrical interest, which isn’t surprising since few Scandinavian bands are as good lyrically in English as they are in their native tongues (see Kent’s “Isola,” for example). Nevertheless, Saybia displays an undeniable “Brit-rock” quality, and if you like newer UK bands like Coldplay, Keane, and Snow Patrol, you won’t be disappointed with Saybia.
It’s important to point out that this was Saybia’s debut album (from 2002, which reminds me how surprised I am to be writing the first Amazon review for this CD). Like a lot of good debuts, this one could be better, and their second album (2004’s “These Are the Days”) is much stronger. So if you’re going to buy your first Saybia album, I recommend that you start with that one instead. Still, there are some lovely songs to enjoy here, even if you do get a sense of repetitiveness after a while. I think my favorites are “7 Demons” (track 1), the titular “Second You Sleep” (tr. 3), and “The Day After Tomorrow” (tr. 7). These are actually some of the most refreshingly beautiful songs about *unrequited* love that I’ve heard in some time. And the music possesses a mournfulness that is quite gripping when you listen to them alone.
I’m not sure whether these qualities have anything to do with Saybia’s “Danish-ness,” but I’ve always enjoyed discovering good bands that come from slightly different musical traditions than typical American and British bands do. So if you value the same experience, then Saybia is well worth your while.
5 out of 6