Kone Mara’s debut single “The Ordinary Place” is an extraordinary earworm

Kone Mara‘s debut single, “The Ordinary Place,” is out now on Northbound Stockholm.

One of the perks of writing for a music blog is getting to hear new singles from up-and-coming bands earlier than their scheduled release dates. Often it’s a group we’ve been tracking and promoting for a while such as HighClouds favorites Magdalena Bay, Sedona, Men I Trust, and Erika de Casier (#stans). But sometimes we come across a brand-new band with no existing output and about which very little is known. Today we have a prime example of this latter scenario with the release of Kone Mara‘s immediately enjoyable debut single, “The Ordinary Place.”

The Swedish trio apparently met by chance at a breakfast table, bonding over their love of early morning hours and developing a friendship by sharing “coffee, poems, dreams, and wishes” with one another. And you can kind of hear it in the music itself. For the first two-and-a-half minutes, “The Ordinary Place” remains firmly in bedroom-pop territory, confidently employing “on brand” musical elements—synth padding, reverby guitar, melodic bass lines, and dreamy vocals—to build a nostalgia-inducing tune that worms its way into your head with elegance and ease. The result is a familiar, lovely sound existing somewhere between the catchy indie-pop of Beauty Queen and the mysterious drama of Pure Bathing Culture.

What’s truly unexpected, however, is the full-on tonal shift that occurs right around 2:35. As the song cuts out, the synthesizers become darker, nearly sinister, almost like an alternate take on the Stranger Things theme. And when the song “returns” about 15 seconds later, everything about the arrangement feels a bit more raw, somewhat psychedelic even, with fuzzed-out bass and processed drums that wouldn’t feel particularly out of place on a Tame Impala album. It’s a song that’s perfect for that moment between dusk and dawn when you can’t decide whether to go to bed or just start the new day. And if the autumnal textures feel a touch disconnected from these early summer days, it will still be greatly appreciated by the folks who are already over the heat and in search of some cooler, breezier climes.

According to the band:

“‘The Ordinary Place’ is a song about feeling homesick. About traveling and searching for oneself and one’s home anywhere and everywhere, only to realize that it’s been there all along.”

Kone Mara‘s vocalist might be searching for that “ordinary place,” but it’s an extraordinary song she’s singing, and it just might make you feel homesick for an ordinary place as well. Here’s hoping that 2021 will bring more releases from the new Swedish band. In the meantime, check out their debut below, knowing that you were there from the very beginning.

Jeremy Quist