Concretes ‘always kind of longing’

There has always been a sadness creeping into even the happiest songs by The Concretes. Singer and founding member Lisa Milberg says her family has even tried to intervene.

“My mom, last year, said she would give me a thousand dollars if I wrote a happy song,” she says.

There certainly are some joyous moments on “WYWH,” the album the Swedish band issued in November, but not enough all-out jubilation for Milberg’s mother.

“She was like, ‘Yeah, I suppose this is a little bit happy,’” reports the singer.

“WYWH” stands for “Wish You Were Here,” which has nothing to do with the Pink Floyd album or song of the same name.

“It’s an amazing song,” says Milberg of the Floyd tune, “but it comes from how they always write that on postcards. I’ve always thought that it was just such a sad sentiment, because you should get a card saying, ‘I’m on this wonderful, far-away island, on a beach somewhere’ but it’s just a very human thing that instead of enjoying yourself in this place, you’re always kind of longing for someone or something’s not quite right. But you should be happier than you are.”

If ever there was one, that sounds like a defining aesthetic for The Concretes.

“I think it might be,” agrees Milberg. “Since we started the band, we try to do all sorts of music and change with each album and everything, but I just think all of our songs sound very Concretes, and they all have some kind of sadness to them, I guess.”

Is there anything that will cheer up the band?

“We all really enjoy playing live,” says Milberg, “so when we play live, I think we might be quite happy.”

People tend to disappear

The original lead singer for The Concretes was Victoria Bergsman, who left the group almost five years ago, and has popped up again with her solo project Taken By Trees, and as the female voice on the Peter Bjorn and John song “Young Folks.” Milberg says the “Wish You Were Here” title has nothing to do with the former singer.

“When we parted ways it was hard,” she says, “but we all felt it was the right thing to do, and I really think everyone’s happier this way.”

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