AK-Momo – Return to NY

Return to NY

AK-Momo is the name for what happened when singer AK (Anna Karin) von Malmborg crossed paths with multi-instrumentalist Mattias Olsson. Olsson is a part of several bands working out of Stockholm and clearly enjoys exploring eclectic sounds and styles. For her part, Malmborg brings a breathy, girlish voice and some quirky lyrics that spike these songs with a little raciness.

The 11 songs on Return to NY are arranged from the same formula. Olsson plays orchestron, mellotron, and optigan while Malmborg coos her lyrics. It’s only one trick, but it’s a good trick, and it’s very inviting for most of the way. Ultimately, though, it becomes too much of the same as one songs blurs into the next, and the babyish singing starts to sound cloyingly saccharine.

That’s what finally turned me off of this album: Malmborg’s voice, high pitched and limited, is best enjoyed in moderation. Olsson creates trippy, engrossing orchestration with hit pet instruments, but even these smack of one-trick ponyism stretched across 11 songs. Finally, they may have been better off writing in Swedish than English, because the English lyrics are often awkward and unidiomatic. Just scanning the song titles (“Women to Control,” “Cold War of the Hearts”) gives an idea of how that goes.

AK-Momo is better than a novelty act, but there is still something missing on Return to NY.