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ViVii (SE) – “Suckerpunch”

ViVii refers to itself as a trio comprised of a core duo and an “enigmatic work partner.” While married couple Emil and Caroline Jonsson bask in all the spotlight that comes with publicly releasing music (or, more realistically, do all the public bidding for attention that comes with sharing art in the competitive, hyper-saturated music industry), Anders Eckeborn recedes to the distance, preferring to stay out of the limelight entirely, as Emil explains. This aspect of ViVii’s makeup is appropriately mysterious for its music, which blends dream pop effects and instrumentation with melodies and progressions often heard in more melancholic genres.

“Suckerpunch,” a new song that ViVii has released following its Savant EP from earlier this year, is perhaps the trio’s most startling example of its mystifying, brooding sound yet. From the song’s introductory guitar arpeggios, which sound more than a fair deal out of tune and lo-fi, to Caroline’s choice for her first words sung to be “Boom boom/boom chick-a boom boom,” it’s clear that ViVii does things its own bizarre, enticing way. Following this intro arrive chorus-drenched, slowly strummed guitar chords that transition into verses built on merely bass and Caroline’s vocals; a chorus built around psychedelic acoustic guitar strums and Emil’s vocal contributions solidifies ViVii’s fixation with the intangible.

Of the song’s lyrics, the band has said, “Been trying to stay out of trouble our whole lives, trying to do it all right. But that doesn’t really matter when life comes around and knocks you out cold with a suckerpunch.” Musically, “Suckerpunch” is properly somber for a work of art that explores life’s tendency to just layer on stresses at the exact worst time: It’s bleak, it passes only gradually, and it sounds defeated. But that doesn’t mean it can’t sound absolutely gorgeous.

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