Who could have resisted the charms of young Axel Ehnström, otherwise known as Paradise Oskar as he strummed his simple plea to save the planet for Finland in Düsseldorf? Well, the talented young musician strikes will the iron is hot and wastes no time in releasing his debut album Sunday Songs.
The album gets off to a flying start with the by now well known Da Da Dam. The gentle ballad suits Axel’s voice perfectly in its simplicity. Some dismiss it as trite and naive, whereas others applaud the song for its honesty. Da Da Dam deals with the timely subject of a young boy on his quest to save the world, and a smashing little track it is, too.
The next offering is Jimmy’s Song, a more spritely, uptempo number which at first starts off as if someone is giving a rendition of Chopsticks on the piano. With a hint of the Boo Radley’s or The Hoosiers, the song tells of a young boy (yet again) being urged to hold onto his childhood innocence. This is without doubt one of the strongest tracks on the album.
Next up is the somewhat oddly titled Sarah The Sparrow, a mellow affair which slows the pace of things down again. Quite similar in structure to Da Da Dam, this track is just as charming and appealing.
Stupid Little Fool is an extremely hummable ditty, where Axel’s voice comes through a lot more prominently than on other tracks. The layered male/female vocals that make up the chorus are sublime as he sings of problems in a relationship, with quite a touching text.
Just Leave deals with the theme of a friend or loved one stuck in an abusive relationship which in places sounds as though it is a nursery rhyme. Childishly simple, the song fits in nicely with the overall sound of the album. Despite the rather grave theme, the tune itself is strangely uplifting and hopeful.
On Sunday Everyday, a whistling intro accompanied by an accoustic intro is actually one of the more "uptempo" numbers on the album, if you can call it that. Axel waxes lyrical about taking things easy and how others can’t understand his laidback outlook on life.
Miss Nobody is the lament of a man disillusioned with his partner’s behaviour, dealing with the sticky subject of infidelity. It is a rather sorry affair, and plods along, not really adding anything to the album as a whole. Rather depressing and something of a downer to listen to.
Dear Mother is the next track, which isn’t as immediate as some of the other numbers on the album. A song of mother worship, the text is yet again rather dreary, with Alex singing of either a) his mother who has passed away or b) his mother who is seriously ill. Although a touching matter and Axel attempts to convey his ideas with the deepest sincerity, the track starts to grate a little towards the end.
The Invisible Ones takes us on an outing into Beatles territory, with instantly recognizable references to the Fab Four and sounds as if it is from the Sergeant Pepper era. A jaunty affair, this is the nearest you’ll get to a hands in the air moment, injecting a bit of oomph into the album at the very end, which to be honest, is needed.
Young Axel should be applauded for his debut effort. He has more than proven that he has the talent and potential, and is not just a pretty face. There is plenty on offer to the listener on Sunday Songs, but the only criticism would be the lack of variation – the album sounds rather monotonous at times and that Axel’s voice really doesn’t have any substance; although pleasant enough on the ear and the melodies are handsome enough, you get the feeling halfway through the album of wanting to hear a different vocal style. Despite these minor gripes, all in all a very encouraging start to Paradise Oskar’s career! Take a bow and welcome to the spotlight, young man!