Psychedelic riffs, rock goddess powerful vocals, soulful melodies, and exuberant drumming are just a few of the awe-inspiring elements Swedish progressive stoner rock band GAUPA brings to the table with their sophomore full length release Myriad. This enchanting band kicked off their discography in 2018 with an EP that quickly grew a fanbase. Their debut full length brought in even more fanfare in 2020, and here just in time to make some year end lists, GAUPA brings all the heat with Myriad. This album contains the same doom/folk/psychedelic influences from earlier releases but with sonic amplification and no holding back. Here, the band unlocks their full potential and hits their stride in these eight mind blowing tracks.
GAUPA, meaning lynx in Swedish, always includes the feline friend in their colorful and lively album artwork. Myriad is no exception and I especially love this cover as it perfectly captures and reflects the band’s vibe. Diving into the opener “Exoskeleton,” which also perfectly captures the band’s vibe, begins with the screech of a guitar before fast paced drums and bass are introduced. Shortly after we hear Emma Näslund’s hypnotizing vocals which grab listeners attention and never let go. Her range and vigor is jaw-dropping and this power is heard immediately as the lyrics begin and never relent throughout the album. As the track progresses, we hear more doom influences amidst the pure rock energy. The first single released from Myriad was “RA” which begins with an electric guitar melody before drums take off and harmonizing soft vocals are introduced. Daniel Nygren and David Rosberg’s stellar guitarwork is showcased here as the song begins with an almost 90s grunge style before building into something more doom heavy and then melodic. Every track on Myriad has solid instrumental moments and many also contain guitar solos. There is never a dull moment.
Track “Sömnen,” which appears before the final piece of the album, slows things down with a quiet guitar melody and gentle harmonizing vocals akin to Emma Ruth Rundle. While the band is Swedish and so are most of the song titles, most of the lyrics on Myriad are in English. However, this piece features Näslund singing in Swedish and the simplicity of this track lets her vocals and the beauty of the language shine. The album closes with “Mammon” which also happens to be the longest track of Myriad and my personal favorite. Spanning just under seven and a half minutes, it is the most dynamic of the collection with a well crafted flow. There is a marching tempo with drums to match, beginning with more psychedelic vibes creating a vast space and slowly building, before switching to straight doom with a killer guitar solo and closing with a bang.
I have been waiting to work on any end of year lists until I listened to Myriad because I knew it would make an appearance on my list/rankings. I made the correct call as this album is all that I wanted it to be and more. It is not to be missed. GAUPA caught my attention right out the gate with their psychedelic vibes and eccentric badass vocalist Näslund. If you have been waiting for a new release from GAUPA, you will not be disappointed. If you are unfamiliar with this groovy band, kick it off with Myriad and enjoy the polished performances and production. There is so much thunder in this unique tracklist and it is clear that GAUPA embraced their sound, reached a new level of confidence in their brand, and unleashed all their passion in Myriad.