Calle Ameln - 'Salty Dog'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be taking a look at Calle Ameln, a Swedish singer songwriter with a background in hard rock and metal. His new EP, ‘Salty Dog,’ endeavors to take an entirely different direction. He want to utilize the edginess from his previous pursuits to define a space for himself within melody-driven country rock. How does he fare? Let’s find out.

Vocally, Ameln sounds a bit like Chad Kroeger, as if the infamous Nickelback singer had turned to writing pop-driven country music. ‘Pardon My French’ is a bizarre first entry to the series. There’s a flute solo, a key switch, a pretty thick bass, and what sounds like a fiddle. I like Ameln’s personality, and I dig his unusual avenues through this style. ‘Pardon My French’ is a bit of a messed up hodgepodge, though, something that isn’t necessarily helped by a poorly organized mix.

‘I Don’t Feel Down’ handles the mix far better; it’s generally a much better tune than ‘Pardon My French.’ The introspective lyricism is far more suitable to Ameln, too, and ‘I Don’t Feel Down’ is a superior jaunt through both his songwriting and his production work. ‘Is There A Chance’ continues this trend, too, and I particularly like the hooks in the song, which are paired quite tactfully with a fantastic piano section.

The titular song, ‘Salty Dog,’ isn’t notable, but it isn’t bad, either. It feels predictable and the lyrics are pretty trope-driven. I notice that Ameln isn’t particularly sure where his music lands. It’s basically country pop rock. That territory is pretty inundated with shallow lyricism, and while Ameln isn’t necessarily shallow, tunes like ‘Salty Dog’ aren’t terribly insightful either. The two prior songs are much stronger.

‘I Built A Bar’ is the final track of the EP. It’s very well produced, and it solves most of the production issues the opener, ‘Pardon My French,’ was plagued by. The song is a nice closer, and I like the compositional strength of it. It’s clear the piano is a catalyst for a lot of Ameln’s melodies. That is pretty unique to him within his genre - he shouldn’t lose that.

Fortunately, Ameln has a lot more potential than the infamously terrible Nickelback frontman whose voice his is reminiscent of. I’d like to see more tunes like ‘I Don’t Feel Down’ and ‘Is There A Chance’ in Ameln’s future. It would also be worth taking a deep look into making the mixes more fluid. There are glimmers of a very interesting project here, though, one worth keeping tabs on.