The Concretes came together in Stockholm in 1995 and made a modest splash in the United States when their song “You Can’t Hurry Love” showed up in Target commercials six or seven years ago. With strong melodies and arrangements that suggested a more approachable Velvet Underground, embellished with strings and horns, the Concretes charmed the pants off a lot of indie-pop fans. Perhaps the key ingredient in this was Victoria Bergsman’s relaxed, Scandinavian-accented vocals. Swooping up to notes and slurring the edges of consonants, she sounded like a friend at the end of a drunken night confessing her love.
By the way, the Concretes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” isn’t a cover of the Supremes’ ’60s hit. Nonetheless, the band’s debut album had a song about listening to Diana Ross’s disco-era hit “Love Hangover.” There, Bergsman sounded like a friend sharing her record collection.
After Bergsman left to pursue her folk project Taken by Trees, drummer Lisa Milberg took over lead vocals. She has a similar accent and sleepy delivery but a slighter voice. The Concretes have struggled to regain their footing ever since. On last year’s WYWH, the band tries out some disco rhythms. Still, the beats land softly. Milberg doesn’t sing about dancing all night, she sings, “We’re gonna stay in bed all day.” Instead of mentioning Ross, she sings about listening to Squeeze and Paul Simon. The Concretes are different, but they still sound like friends sharing their record collection.
THE CONCRETES: The Casbah, Saturday, March 5, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355 . $12 advance; $14 day of show.