Far from being derivative, these six freaks make a noise that's all their own...
There’s always one band that defines the summer. One band that provides the soundtrack to all those long, humid nights. Tonight, somewhat appropriately, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives put in their bid to be that band. During a frantic, hilarious, joyous hour they’re psychedelic like ’60s hippies Love, shambolic like the Happy Mondays, anthemic like Oasis and so-uncool-they’re-cool like The Beta Band. Far from being derivative, however, these six freaks make a noise that’s all their own.
If compatriots The Hives, with their anal retentive attention to sartorial detail and superchiselled cheekbones, are the sophisticated side of Sweden then TSOOL are the absolute polar opposite: ragged, acid-fried, motley, eccentric, the most unlikely popstars since Shaun Ryder stumbled onstage at the Hacienda and mumbled ‘Wrote For Luck’.
Not that they care, mind: they’re having much too much fun to bother themselves with little details like what other people think. Leather-clad guitarists Matthias Barjed and Ian Person throw themselves recklessly across the stage, dragging every hoary stadium rock pose out of the ’80s and reshaping it into something fresh and new. At the eye of the storm is singer Ebbot Lundberg, a man who looks like a Swedish Trappist monk but is possessed of the pop sensibility of head Beach Boy Brian Wilson. Ebbot is also a man that sings like a chuchgoer ripped on Christmas Day sherry and acts like your Uncle doing Saturday night pub karaoke.
It’d be funny – as opposed to fascinating – if the songs weren’t so damn good. The highlights from recent third album ‘Behind The Music’ – notably ‘Infra Riot’ and ‘Nevermore’ – are perfectly-formed rock gems, while the comely, piano-led ‘Tonight’ is as heartbreaking a lament as any of his peers will ever write.
‘Mind The Gap’ becomes a metaphor for TSOOL‘s imminent launch into the centre of your affections with its tagline “We’re taking over / When you’ve got nothing to say / We’re taking over / And we might as well blow you away”, while current single ‘Sister Surround’ is aired in all its technicolour glory.
By the time Lundberg embarks on his now-traditional meet and greet with the audience – during a lengthy ’21st Century Rip Off’ – he’s preaching to the converted. Watching his own band from the front of the stage, he attempts to see just how far he can push his power. He tells someone to give him their pint. They do. He tells everyone to sit down. They do. If he’d asked the hundreds of people here to sit up and beg for more like a bitch, they probably would’ve done that too.
Yes, they are retro, but, despite props from Noel G, TSOOL‘s music is far from just tepid ‘Rubber Soul’ pastiche – this sextet possess the kind of bonkers musical vision sorely lacking in their peers. And now, after eight years of being ignored by pretty much everyone outside their native country, this is their time to make sure we all sit up and take notice.
Whatever you’re looking for in a band you can find it in The Soundtrack Of Our Lives. Go and see them and be dazzled. Then go and buy ‘Behind The Music’ and play it loud at festivals, barbecues, beach parties – whenever you do anything this summer. You will not regret it.