Album review – The Soundtrack Of Our Lives – ‘Communion’

A double album in 2009? The mad Swedes manage to pull it off

In the age of iTunes and Spotify when people can barely make it through an entire song before skipping to something else, the decision by [a]The Soundtrack Of Our Lives[/a] to release a 24-track double album seems hilarious. But then, these Swedes having always been off on one; a bunch of medieval minstrels playing proggy psychedelic rock for pagans everywhere.

They’re both bonkers and pretty amazing, and now it seems they’ve seen the light. ‘Communion’ is a collection of quasi-religious rock songs about finding enlightenment within. It may sound nauseatingly bloated, but it actually breezes along with singalong choruses, flashing guitars and hooky melodies. It’s like discovering some lost collaboration between ‘Lifehouse’-era Pete Townshend and ‘III’>-era Led Zep.

Disc One begins with the exhilarating ‘Babel On’, which rebuilds Babylon as a rock opera house in which everyone communicates brilliantly. It’s followed by the more grounded ‘Universal Stalker’, an exceptional love song which has frontman Ebbot Lundberg sighing “The only time I feel/Is when you put me down”. So it goes on, bouncing between exploding outside of yourself (the [a]Flaming Lips[/a]-y ‘The Ego Delusion’, the T.Rex-y ‘Thrill Me’) or the pained inability to do so (the furious Armageddon of ‘RA 88’, the suicidal acoustic ballad ‘Second Life Reply’). The cover version of Nick Drake’s wistful ‘Fly’ shows you where they’re coming from, but where they’re at is being [a]Secret Machines[/a] with a heart.

Disc Two is a quieter, more folky affair, beginning with the dreamy ‘Everything Beautiful Must Die’ and ‘The Fan Who Wasn’t There’. The psych-rock returns in ‘Reconnecting The Dots’ and ‘Utopia’, before eventually climaxing with the campfire singalong ‘The Passover’.

There’s far too much going on here to do complete justice to it in this meagre space. Rest assured though; TSOOL have made a double album that isn’t a burden, but rather something which is genuinely fun to get lost inside and attempt to unravel.

Martin Robinson

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Click here to get your copy of The Soundtrack Of Our Lives’ ‘Communion’ from the Rough Trade shop.