Scandinavian Indie - Scandinavian CD Reviews [Q] [CD Reviews][Scandinavia]

On these pages you can find exclusive reviews of Scandinavian CD singles and full-lengths. The reviews are written by the Scandinavian Indie "crew". If you are interested in having your CD reviewed on these pages, please send it + information to Scandinavian Indie, Björnkärrsgatan 13 C:22, 584 36 Linköping, Sweden. If you are interested in becoming a part of the crew, please do not hesitate to let us know.

[Bent Spanner, Arty Banner - Short Career] Bent Spanner, Arty Banner - "Short Career"
(MCD, Breed 1996, BREED 121803. Time: 18.57) 1. Examining The Squat (3.32) 2. Plans (2.17) 3. Now (You Think You Got A Hunch) (3.32) 4. Me Corrupting You (2.36) 5. Avoid The Cracks (6.42)
Scandinavian Indie Review: Debut 5 song EP/MLP recorded in Tambourine Studios with the most exiting new music from Sweden I've heard for ages. These guys must have listened a lot to american lo-fi acts like Pavement, Archers Of Loaf, Polvo etc, but manage to create something that still doesn't really sound like any of those bands. Sadly, the vocals are a bit (to say the least) annoying, which makes the overall impression a lot lower than it could have been.

January 1997 Review by: Ludvig Borgne
Contact: Alternative Breed Production, Byggmästaregatan 7, 211 30 Malmö, Sweden.
Fax: +46-(0)40-304555.

[Blome - The Third Twin] Blome - "The Third Twin"
(CD, Lomasöngur 1995, BLOME 1. Time: 48.47) 1. Oh By Jingo (3.35) 2. King Of The World (3.30) 3. Overnice (3.28) 4. Black (3.04) 5. Water Juice (2.37) 6. Showdown (3.53) 7. Flexible Energy (4.26) 8. Stars (4.57) 9. Cliché (3.35) 10. Buffalo (5.02) 11. Heaven Is The Place To Be (3.59) 12. Symbolic (3.49) 13. I'm Not Quite Right (2.28)
Scandinavian Indie Review: You have heard of Bloem from Holland, who is said to sound a bit like Björk. Well, here is Blome from Iceland, and no, that's not the same band. There's nothing even close to Björk in Blome. As far as I can make out from the Icelandic language on the sleeve, they're from Reykjavik, and the members are: Gretar Mar Olafsson, Holmsteinn Ingi Halldorsson, Ivar Pall Jonsson and Petur Thor Sigurdsson.

They sing in English, and have Male/Female (mostly male though) vocals, sometimes disted, sometimes not. On two of the songs the String Quartet "Hux" has joined them, with cellos, violins, etc. Those songs are mostly acoustic, and actually very very good. Dark and eerie pieces. The other songs have electric (and acoustic) guitars. And on two of these songs the "Hinn Himneski" choir has joined the band, though I'm not very impressed by that - the songs sound great without the choir though.

Their sound then.. well, Ivar Pall's (vocals, guitar, "raddir" (what's that?)) voice sounds like that guy in The Cult in "Water Juice", but other than that I'd say it sounds like they have found influences from the Beatles, The Boo Radleys and Radiohead (something they also agree with), as well as The Cult. Sometimes dist on the guitars, and sometimes not.

My favourite song (which I think the band could go far with) is "Cliché", Ivar Pall going from his hoarse voice to singing out loud, kind of Ray Wonder-ish even. Acoustic and disted electric guitars mixed into a perfect blend. Duet male vocals in the choruses ontop of a wall of electric guitars. Slower parts with a single acoustic guitar, bass and drums transforming into a single alarming electric guitar, drums and bass cuts and finally evolving into acoustic and electric guitars together, with a harder setting.

My second favourite song on the album is definitely "Stars" which has disted guitars, organ, and Ivar Pall with his hoarse, whispering voice. And you know these three things always create something I can't resist. :-) Of course there's also bass and drums.

"Symbolic" has got female vocals by Frida Maria Hardardottir, and she does really sound close to Madonna! Or is it because together with the violins and cello, it all makes me think of some of her songs? That is probably more likely. A concert hall song.

The band has got a real gem in Ivar Pall Jonsson though, who writes all the lyrics and the music, plays guitars and sings. And his voice is very confident and very pleasant to listen to.

I'm desperately trying to find a Swedish band, or in fact, any band I could compare them to, to make it easier for everyone else to understand better what they sound like, but I just can't. Which I think is good in a way as well, though I would like to be able to put a finger on something in their sound, something that would enable me to say that they have a "whole" sound. But I can't. Let me just say that they have a couple of probable hits in there, and that it might not be enough for a whole album, but then again, when was the last time one bought an album with nothing but hits?

November 1996 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: Blome, P.O. Box 12458, 132 Reykjavik, Iceland.
Email: WWW:

[CBJ - Another Moment Follows] Cloudberry Jam - "Another Moment Follows"
(CD5, North Of No South 1996, NONSCD30. Time: 06.19) 1. Another Moment Follows 2. Scorch
Scandinavian Indie Review: Being a Linköpinger, one is kind of obliged to obtain whatever Cloudberry Jam release, and more than often, one is happy about that fact. As with this CD single.

"Another Moment Follows" is a happy, fast and irresistable beauty, filled with the lovable, wellknown happy vocals from Jennie Medin, with Jörgen Wärnström always in the background to back her up. I feel Jennie has received more attention this time, as her vocals break through more than before, which can only be good. If guitars, drums, bass and tambourine aren't enough, they have added a string-section, a trumpet, a synthesizer and together with swinging jazzy "dididi-do-do", "para-ba-bappa", one is either dead, or singing along, tapping one's foot to this. "what goes around, it comes around"...

"Scorch" then? Well, I feel I have heard it before! I know I have, but I don't know where and why? Anyway, This one is a bit tougher than the previous track. Jennie's voice is a bit harder, but when she sings together with Jörgen, it sounds like their voices are a perfect match. The breaks leading the way into the choruses and out again are ingenious. The synth has a more prominent place, swirling here, "plinging and plonging" there. And the use of trumpets really hits the nail on it's head. This one is a personal favourite. "it's a sure thing that you don't have to know, it's a sure thing that I don't have to show".

A special mention must go to our own list-member Magnus Åström for the cover design. It's (as well as the forthcoming album's design) fantastic. Sort of a mix between 70's orange and brown psychedelia with a "cbj" logo that remings me of Japanese Manga-style.

February 1996 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: WWW:

[Dry Dive Ass Hole] Dry Dive - "Ass Hole As Possible"
(CD, ReSuBo 1995, DDCD 001. Time: 45.18) 1. Something (0.34) 2. Nothing (3.14) 3. Mistreated (4.00) 4. Funny Vibe (2.30) 5. Ashes (5.13) 6. The Doomed And The Blamed (3.34) 7. Whore (3.09) 8. The Sleeping (5.59) 9. Apocalyptic (3.56) 10. Rub It In (3.50) 11. Faces (5.03) 12. No Promise To (3.48)
Scandinavian Indie Review: I find it kind of hard to review this album, as I am not as familiar with this kind of rock, but I will try. Dry Dive is sometimes in the fast, captivating hard rock/metal room, and sometimes they are visiting the rock-ballad room. Actually, the last group I listened to when it comes to this mix was Europe but it is definitely wrong to compare Dry Dive to them. Alas, I have no bands to compare them to, and maybe that is only a good thing.

"The Doomed And The Blamed" is a perfect example of both these rooms, and also my personal favourite. Hard guitars and drums lead the way into echo-filled ballad segments with an acoustic guitar. "Ashes" and "The Sleeping" are on the other hand long ballads from the start to the end with extremely beautiful vocals. I get a strange feeling that I have heard "No Promise To" somewhere before! Slow acoustic sections interrupted by harder electric ones. The chorus goes like this: "Preach your love, promise me. Preach your love, religiously. Preach your love, deep in me. Preach you love, undoubtedly." But I can't place it! It is a great song though.

I have to give credit to the band, because this is tight as hell! You can tell that these guys have been around and have definitely played together for some time. And Thomas Rehn (lead vocals) has a fantastic voice. Screaming, whispering, talking or just singing, high or low, it does not matter. It still sounds extremely good. I more than often compare his voice to Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), like in "Rub It In" (my second favourite) and "Nothing" (third favourite), sometimes to Axl Rose (Guns'n'Roses), like in "Apocalyptic" and then sometimes to Joey Tempest (Europe), like in "Mistreated". And it fits perfectly together with the other members' voices as well. Just take a listen to the slow and floating "Faces" and you will know what I am talking about.

May 1996 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: Dry Dive, c/o Allan Sundberg, Sågstuvägen 1M 2tr, 141 49 Huddinge, Sweden.
Phone: +46-8-689-7225. Fax: +46-8-774-8620. Email:

[Eggstone - Vive La Différence!] Eggstone - "Vive La Différence!"
(CD, Vibrafon 1997, VIBRCD19. Time: xx.xx) 1. Head Around 2. Supermeaningfectlyless 3. Birds In Cages 4. Never Been a Better Day 5. Taramasalata 6. Il Trascurato 7. April and May 8. Marabous 9. Still All Stands Still 10. Neil
Scandinavian Indie Review:

"One thing is for sure,
I'm not happy anymore" (Birds in Cages)

This is moody album. A thread of discontent runs throughout the album. And perhaps for that reason in particular, eggstone's lyrics have suddenly become much more coherent and consistent than they ever were before. Not that I didn't like their lyrics before, they were always clever and humorous. But they always veered toward nonsense. Now they are managing to make light fare of being miserable, or of wanting to be miserable:

"I hope a dog will bite me,
not so I will die,
just to make me cry"

"I hope I burn my skin
while sleeping in the sun
wouldn't that be fun?" (Birds in Cages)

The best moments for me come in "Il Trascurato" (would that be "the careless" or "the neglected" - anyone know Italian here?) and "April and May". The first features a gentle drum machine to transport us back to our school days, plus a jaunty little melody that makes me think of the Mediteranean (anyone agree?). The lyrics, of course, are from the viewpoint bullied child praying that the summer won't end, that he won't have to go back to school and face his tormentors, and that the former friend who leads the pack will die. (Hey, this could be a topic for bedroom pop). It's a bitter narrative, not the sort of thing that I would have expected from the band, but hearing how strong and (gooseflesh) meaningful the lyrics can be here will surely make it harder for me to go back to the nonsense that they used to do (and which I loved so much).

Earlier reviews of the album have made a good deal of "April and May" being "the best Cardigans song ever". And I'll agree with that, but again, not just for the sweet sounding music, but also for the lyrics which manage to sound sweet and yet aren't exactly. The song is about a lightweight love affair, and the opening is just about as romantically sweet as can be imagined. Take this excerpt from the first verse (circa April or May):

"We're only surfing,
and the waves that we miss
give us time to kiss.
(Of course the wind is in charge of this.)

Around July, Per starts to wonder why he is feeling fine, and the affair proceeds to fall apart, but not in any dramatic way, but simply:

"When our daydreams alter
into tepid water -
End of November,
I forgot your birthday but you didn't care,
and that's the end of this affair."

The band scores in my book for treating such an affair as though it were nothing, or in my personal interpretation, as though it was worth no more than some throwaway romantic lyric in a pop song. Commentary?

So much for everyone who expected the band to keep rocking harder and harder (which they do do on the opening track - I guess you can't sing about so much negativity and never give yourself a chance to let off some steam) which is what you might expect on the basis of the eggstone track on 1995's Tambourine Studios compilation (this track, "Still All Stands Still", appears on the new album as well, which is just the sort of thing to annoy me). Aside from those two tracks, what I actually hear is a much stronger presence of acoustic guitar than before.

To sum up, I like this album much better album than Somersault. This album gets back to the sugar-slick vibe-laden arrangements of In San Diego, but the lyrics have gone moody. I've been finding quite a bit of the record so good that I don't dare listen to it too late in the evening for fear that I won't be able to fall asleep afterwards. Oh, and it's got nicer artwork than Somersault had too, even if Per's mustache looks a little intimidating.

February 1997 Review by: Alexander Bailey
Contact: Email: WWW:

[Fidget - Semi-naked] Fidget - "Semi-naked"
(CDS, Mega Records 1996, MRCDS 2818. Time: 05.53) 1. Semi-naked (2.56) 2. Teddybear Baby (2.57)
Scandinavian Indie Review: Not very different from the demo version I guess most of you have heard by now. The b-side seems to be a cover of a song by someone who's name escapes me right now. A bit silly for my taste, perhaps, but pretty OK anyway. I know they hate being compared to the Sugarcubes, but if I would pick one band to compare them to, it would simply have to be, yes, the Sugarcubes.

January 1997 Review by: Ludvig Borgne
Contact: Mega Records, Skepparegatan 8 1tr, 114 52 Stockholm, Sweden.
Phone: +46-(0)8-6633660. Fax: +46-(0)8-6633696.

[Fidget - Stop Losing] Fidget - "Stop Losing"
(CDS, Mega Records 1997, MRCXCD 2827. Time: 09.03) 1. Stop Losing (2.44) 2. Hey Little Sister (3.19) 3. Teddybear Baby (re-run mix) (2.59)
Scandinavian Indie Review: The second single from Fidget presents another song from the demo that got them signed, 'Stop Losing', and it actually is the demo version of the song. They were not happy about the studio-version and decided to use this one instead, which makes me happy because I liked it then and I like it now.

'Hey Little Sister' is the much talked about duet between Nina Natri and Jay-Jay Johansson, and from which the title of their album "No Boogie Coming Your Way" comes (listen to the lyrics). If someone expected that this duet would sound fantastic, well, then you were right! Deep and dark-voiced Jay-Jay (what a voice he has got!) together with light, breathe-voiced Nina is a beautiful match. And it also gives you an idea how Fidget would sound with a male singer.

The re-run mix of 'Teddybear Baby' is nothing special. They have beefed up the sound which means that the vocals, piano and the trombone are a lot clearer than before, that is all.

But, as 'Hey Little Sister', which is something you don't want to miss, does not appear anywhere else, the single is definitely worth buying.

March 1997 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: Mega Records, Skepparegatan 8 1tr, 114 52 Stockholm, Sweden.
Phone: +46-(0)8-6633660. Fax: +46-(0)8-6633696.

[Fidget - No Boogie Coming Your Way] Fidget - "No Boogie Coming Your Way"
(CD, Mega Records 1997, MRCD 3337. Time: 34.01) 1. Semi-naked (2.56) 2. Figure Four Leglock (2.25) 3. Pokerface (3.40) 4. Stop Losing (2.42) 5. So Good It Hurts (3.41) 6. Singoalla (2.45) 7. Teddy (2.55) 8. Fast Forward (3.02) 9. My Prawns (2.51) 10. Focus (2.38) 11. Night Out (1.55) 12. Mr. Rayon (2.29)
Scandinavian Indie Review: So, after all the talk about this band, here, in magazines, on the TV and the radio, the question is: Is their debut album any good? The answer to that is plainly: Yes, it certainly is.

Even though I'm not completely happy with it, (for example, 'Semi-naked' is still tough, charming and alarming but it isn't what it used to be, and they didn't include the wonderful guitar-walls they do when playing live, which is something of the best I have ever heard in my entire life. That is to say that when I know they are able to do something like that, why not use it!?), it's got the amazing 'My Prawns' which actually is enough for me because it's just a marvel in itself.

I won't go into all of the songs on the album, but here are some thoughts on at least some of them:

'Pokerface' is first a weird thing with a banjo and a blip-blop synth and then lovely electric guitar choruses and end where they use a hollow sound on the synth with a perfect fit. When I hear those pieces with the addictive drums and the gorgeous guitars together with Nina Natri singing 'Poker-fheee-hyeyce' and the way they move out of the chorus at the end, I can only congratulate. It's brilliant!

'Singoalla' on the album is actually a new title for the demo song 'Hoovering Away', though it is the studio version with a lot more synthesizer sound and Nina's voice not as happy-go-lucky sounding, and thus not as "naive" and genuine as the demo version. I still love the way the bass moves in, adding thunder to the picture. Letting you know they are on the way to a harder section. And it is also still one of the best songs on the album.

'Teddy' is the studio version of the demo song with the same name. Here they have added background strings (!) which I wish they hadn't because it is a very beautiful song in itself, without them. Slow and sad with a jangly guitar, a moody synth and a piano. On their demo, this was one of my favourites, and it would have been here on the album as well if they had not used those strings. It feels as if they are out of place here and not needed.

'Fast Forward' is really really good - disted electric guitars mixed with a bit of Superswirls sounding synths and (you know the Commodore 64 game "Rambo" - when it loaded, the intro song that played then? Ie. the same as in the movie, but with the C-64 sound. They are using the exact same sound here!) early Depeche Mode synth sounds. It is completely impossible not to like this one. Second best song on the album!

'My Prawns' is like I said, just totally mindblowing. A jangly electric guitar starts out alone, but is soon joined by a disted guitar and bass. All leading into a single key synth with Nina's voice with her charming Finnish accent, bringing back the jangly guitar again, then the disted guitar moves in more and more, and finally everuthing goes into the mayhem which is the chorus. And that is where Nina's voice really goes into high-performance mode. It's alarmingly good. Give this song a single to reside on!

'Focus' is a slower pace song with a muffled effect on Nina's voice in low key, and it almost sounds like they've used the effect on the instruments as well. It does not sound bad at all in fact. I'm not sure if anyone cares, but there are filters adding a low thumping, throbbing sound to everything using them. Giving the listener a feeling of standing outside a club where they play deep bass and drum tracks. I would not be surprised if they are using one of those here.

'Night Out' I'd almost like to call a punk song because of the fast and heave chorus pieces, but the parts between them are in another division - the more Fidget like division.

The bottom line is, Fidget is definitely Sweden's only band that sounds like this, and I'd say that's a pretty good reason to at least listen to the album if you have never heard them before. Chances are you'll find a new love.

March 1997 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: Mega Records, Skepparegatan 8 1tr, 114 52 Stockholm, Sweden.
Phone: +46-(0)8-6633660. Fax: +46-(0)8-6633696.

[Fivel - '57] Fivel - "'57"
(CDEP, North Of No South 1997, NONSCD52. Time: 16.34) 1. Imago (4.07) 2. Who Are You? (2.01) 3. Missing In Action (3.34) 4. Laika (4.04) 5. Goodnight (2.39)
Scandinavian Indie Review: In a desperate attempt to compare these new songs with the somewhat older ones on their recently released debut album, I find that I do not have the album in question, which in turn means that no comparison of the sort is possible. What I can do instead, is to compare them to what I have heard on the radio/TV and a recording of their live performance here in Linköping not long ago.

This leaves me with no other alternative than to say what I have said about them before - they are as tight live as they are on their records. 'Who Are You?' on my live recording sounds almost alarmingly close to the same song on this EP.

All songs here fit well into the "heavy electric guitar segments mixed with charming intros, outros and choruses" style which they have set up for themselves, and of course, on top of everything, Annika Persson's distinct, almost breaking, vocals. But no song really stands out from the other. One song plays after another, and I never really notice. Not until I reach the last song, "Goodnight", which is a slow and easy duet (male/female) goodnight song, just like the title says. A nice surprise and a good song to end the EP with.

March 1997 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: NONS Records, Box 119, 901 03 Umeå, Sweden. Phone: +46-(0)90-130899. Fax : +46-(0)90-129963.
Email: WWW:

[Gone - Nothing] Gone - "Nothing"
(MCD, Frisbee 1994, FBEE 1001. Time: 20.01) 1. Nothing (2.35) 2. Clodmaster (4.02) 3. Pus (2.37) 4. Brain (2.56) 5. Radiant (4.57) 6. Gonejah (2.52)
Scandinavian Indie Review: Let me get straight to the point. This is hardcore with melodious, rap, choir, whatever vocals. At times they sound like Biohazard with heavy smattering guitars and rap, then suddenly it fades away and enter the Faith No More-ish sound, then suddenly that fades away as well, and we are treated to an interlude with a lonely guitar and Björn Flodkvist (vocals) talking, and then we are right back where we started, roaring guitars smash away the dark and empty basement there only seconds ago.

"Nothing" starts off with blasting guitars and rapid fire drums which turns into a strange section with a single, light electric guitar and choir vocals in a slow pace. Enter the rap part, and back are the scratching, smattering and dirty guitars. That is how it goes with the only exception that at the end it turns into a general heavy metal electric guitar'n drums mayhem.

"Clodmaster" is of the same sort. Harder guitar-filled parts mixed together with slower, easy breeze parts with a single high-hat, a simple guitar, a lonely bass, Björn talking..

"Pus" is my favourite song. Scratching electric guitars leading the way. Alarming hardcore guitars, smattering drums, screaming guitars following. It definitely feels like some sort of warzone. "The only way to go, is through the trapdoor" explains Björn, and everything goes boom!. On and on and on.. "aiii, aiii, aiii" the guitars scream. Very professional.

"Brain" and "Radiant" are both very similar to the first two songs.

"Gonejah" on the other hand is very different. This is more of a Reggae song. Nothing strange about that considering the title though.. But while I usually loathe Reggae, I like this very much. Perhaps it is because they have mixed it with psychedelic electric guitars and hardcore sections, and in the process, made it much more interesting than any ordinary Reggae song.

The most appealing songs are the ones that are closer to the Biohazard sound, but then again, that is my personal view, and I have been one of their fans once. I have more trouble with the more melodious parts; where it is more hardrock than hardcore. But all that may have changed now, as this record was made back in 1994. It would be interesting to hear what they sound like today. Hopefully it is more hardcore and less hardrock.

September 1996 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: Frisbee Productions, Kungsholmsgatan 19B, 112 27 Stockholm, Sweden.
Phone/Fax: +46-8-339934. Email:

[Honeymoons - Fabrications] Honeymoons - "Fabrications"
(CD5, North Of No South 1997, NONSCD53. Time: 05.25) 1. Fabrications (2.37) 2. My Innocent Friend (2.46)
I have always liked Honeymoons. Ever since I heard them the first time on the NONS-compilation "Compilation One". 1992, the year of dreamlike, organ-filled Manchester pop. Those who know me understand that it "fit my hand like a glove" so to say.

After that, I managed to see them live once in Linköping, some time during 1993/94. But the venue (J's Place - where even Cardigans played during their early days) was not the best one, and I have never been able to compare a gig there with a gig somewhere else, because of, among other things, the wide pillar, from the floor to the roof, right in front of what was called "the stage". Unfortunately, I didn't know that at the time, so the gig made me only listen to the compilation tracks and ignore their following records.

It was not until 1996 and the "NONSVOL2" compilation that I resumed my acquaintance with the band. As expected, everything was more quiet and relaxed - all the "Manchester" in the band, except the organ, which is an instrument I can't live without, was gone. But to my great surprise, I found infinitely beautiful pop there instead (has someone missed the amazing 'Travel' - music and lyrics - then please accept my condolences) and I re-opened my interest in the band there and then.

That's why it was very pleasant to see the "NONSCD50" compilation turn up just a couple of months later, where two tracks from the before mentioned albums were included. To my surprise, though a pleasant one, rattling guitars and a synthesizer had been picked up by the band. This did leave me worried about the organ for a while. Had they held on to it? Seconds later my worries were gone - they had. This was heavier than anything I had heard from the band before, a bit Teenage Fanclub-ish, maybe the time was right for it, what do I know, but it still sounded good.

So, after all these compilations, my first Honeymoons record, the new single "Fabrications", recently appeared in my mailbox. With a somewhat nervous feeling, remembering the pretty big changes in the band's sound earlier - would they be even heavier now?, I put the single in the CD-player and pressed play.

Of course, I had worried for nothing. The soft, warm and always pleasant vocals, though in a much wider spectrum than before and stronger because of it, not quite dissimilar to Rob Dickinson's when he really means what he sings (there I was again!), an acoustic guitar, a lonely electric guitar, a synthesizer, bass and drums (but where is the organ!?) in 'Fabrications' create music I am bound to call summer-pop.

The b-side, 'My Innocent Friend' would have been the title track on the single if I had been in charge. But, with the somewhat obvious risk of them getting a Wannadies-wannabe label, this surprising and totally self-evident pop-hit, served as a b-side, suits me just fine. The song literally boils from trust from the band, that this, this is really really good - and when they know, that's when they can create something as good as this! A simple melody with a simple drum machine, synth, bass and two lonely guitars, one acoustic and one electric, really throw themselves into real drums, "You And Me Song"-Wannadies-like guitar-walls and gorgeous organ-loops (phew!) with such beautiful duet vocals that I must give it ten points out of ten for style! The chorus in itself screams radio playlists and big interest from the UK.

If someone now asks, "Why this long story for a single?", I am going to answer: Their second "real" album, called "This Coherent Excitation" is released on April 21st. If it keeps what this single promises, it is only a matter of writing "BUY!".

March 1997 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: NONS Records, Box 119, 901 03 Umeå, Sweden. Phone: +46-(0)90-130899. Fax : +46-(0)90-129963.
Email: WWW:

[Kent Kräm] Kent - "Kräm (Så Nära Får Ingen Gå)"
(CD5, BMG 1996, 74321 35527 2. Time: 10.38) 1. Kräm (så nära får ingen gå) 2. Rödljus 3. En Helt Ny Karriär
Scandinavian Indie Review: The first single for an upcoming album is always interesting - it usually tells you what you can expect from the album. I hope this one does not follow that "rule".

"Kräm" takes me back to 1995 - this sounds just like the Kent we're used to. But that's not a bad thing. Not at all. In fact, it's great! Soft and almost silent cuts, with a drum beat and Joakim Berg's voice pressed against the windshield, then hell breaks lose, imprenetable guitar-walls with smattering drums and a bass-line that makes the neighbors (below) crazy. Just like "Blåjeans" and "Jag Vill Inte Vara Rädd" from the previous album. But, I can't find any smart breaks, one of the appealing small things that I feel made Kent special. Like they have conformed to usualness. But it doesn't matter much. It's a Kent-hit in any respect.

"Rödljus" comes with a single acoustic guitar, piano and cello together with Jocke's voice, in fractions of high and low and with a small dist-effect. It's pretty unpretentious, and really something I'd call a "ballad". "Vem tror du att du är, i den här sången".

"En Helt Ny Karriär" would probably have been a great one if they had removed the incredible dist on Jocke's voice and speeded it up a bit. Acoustic guitar, synthesizer a bass and drums, in slowmotion. But, remove the dist, and it's yet another ballad, and they probably didn't want that. Speed it up, and it would've been .. I don't know. It's pretty lousy actually. Sort of Depeche Mode meets Di Leva.

February 1996 Review by: Erik Söderström

[Lemonator - EP] Lemonator - "EP"
(CDEP, Grandpop Records 1995, GPOP-1. Time: 18.34) 1. Playing With Dinosaur (2.26) 2. Tourist (3.55) 3. Round (4.43) 4. Moovie (7.25)
Scandinavian Indie Review: Lemonator are from Finland. I would never have guessed it if I did not know about it from the start. But these days it seems as if our fellow nordic country to the east is producing more and more great pop groups, and what can be more satisfying than that?! Just listen to the unbeleivably good group Dada Girl for example. But, this is a Lemonator review, so I better skip this love-bombing on Finnish pop now!

Lemonator plays power-pop quite frankly. I could say that this band must be the Finnish mix between Popsicle and Naked, but I won't. Because this is way better than both bands. Faster than Popsicle. A more cool, low and captivating bass. Okay, they do have the "Sha la la la"'s in "Round" and with the chorus "We go round, we go wrong, we go round, we go wrong - It's neverending. We go round, we go wrong, we go round, we go wrong - It's every evening." (I think) it actually is the song that sounds most similar to the bands mentioned. They have duet male vocals that sounds just great. They have alarming guitars. They have a bit of the 60's there too. The have that low bass. They have an extremely long end section in "Moovie" with walls of noise that leaves you hanging, waiting for the burst when the chorus kicks in again, even though it never does. Though I have to say that I hear a bit of really early Duran Duran (!) vocals in there too.

"Playing With Dinosaur" is definitely the hit here. Fast, in the "Dad Around" (Naked) way. Heavy guitars, with breaks that reminds me of Nirvana. Actually the vocals in this song also sounds a bit like Nirvana when they reach the "It's So Alarming, It's So Alarming" parts. I can not help to sing along with the chorus, and that is a sure sign of a hit. "Tourist" is my favourite song though. Slow and pounding. I feel as it it is always building up to the utterly beautiful chorus, where the duet vocals make me shiver, because it is so right. And the scratchy heavy guitar that kicks in at the end is ingenious.

Lemonator has great musicians, great singers with confident voices that match eachother remarkably well. And they have the hits. I just wish I could hear more of the lyrics, because now I have to settle with only attempting to sing along. Not that this is something bad - remember that I love Slowdive and Curve... Well, I definitely recommend this EP and I bet that I will recommend their debut album too, planned to be released this summer!

May 1996 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: Grandpop Records, P.O.Box 76, 00501 Helsinki, Finland. Fax: +358-0-694-9657.

[Lemonator - Superb] Lemonator - "Superb"
(CDS, Fazer Records 1996, 0630-17104-2. Time: 06.59) 1. Superb (2.09) 2. I Love Trampoline (2.53) 3. My Donut Mind (demo version) (1.57)
Scandinavian Indie Review: Ah, a new single from Lemonator! But I can't make up my mind if it is better than the "EP" EP or not - I think I need to listen to it some more before I can be sure of that. Smokin' powerpop anyway! Three tracks, none over three minutes. The second song 'I Love Trampoline' is my pick for favourite on the single - thick and rich sound, with alarming and phazer effect box guitars like cream on top of the mashed potatoes, "pa paaaa" backing vocals, a more mature song, one of those songs you want to listen to in your car whilst driving far on a sunny summer day. And the song most similar to their "EP" EP. Even thoug the title track probably will be the one played on the radio, because it's got more "go". A bit like (what they call it today) punk feel over it. Rattling drums, rock rock rock guitars, the recognizable Lemonator male duet vocals. "A song for the kids to jump to", as they say. There's no Curt Cobain vocals here now though, which is okay by me, though on the third song "My Donut Mind", which is a demo, they use a muffled effect on the vocals here and there, high falsetto backing vocals, great breaks. I'd like to say that it sounds like some sort of mix between Naked and Brainpool, and something else I can't put my finger on.

November 1996 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: WWW:

[Mismates - All Things Bright and Beautiful] Mismates - "All Things Bright and Beautiful"
(CD, Sesame Records 1996, SESCD 01. Time: 65.20) 1. To The Survivors (2.57) 2. Furry Curtains (4.13) 3. That Laughable Boy (3.18) 4. 14 (3.03) 5. Great Song Of Forviveness (3.31) 6. Doobie & Petula (2.48) 7. Oil And Water (4.16) 8. Tell Me About The Rabbits (3.27) 9. Intermission (1.17) 10. Give It Time (3.40) 11. Anyway (1.52) 12. Other People's Miseries (3.26) 13. You Only Stood Red (5.08) 14. Lively Season (4.15) 15. Sleep For A Year (4.13) 16. Swallow And Smile (2.38) 17. Choices (8.57) 18. Can't But Hope (1.51)
Scandinavian Indie Review: As I'm also a big Sundays fan (I think I have all their records, singles, promos etc. even) and when they haven't released anything for a bunch of years (do you know what they are up to these days? Let me know!) Mismates was really a fantastic discovery. At least some of the 18 songs (!) on this, their debut album, sound really close to the Sundays, and some are a bit tougher, more guitars - kind of something I would expect them to sound today if they released something. Then there are some songs with strings (together with the ordinary guitars, drums etc.) Acoustic guitars are used a lot, in a Sundays-breeze kind of way, electric guitars in the sense of pop today, as well as in a harder sense (guitar walls) but still beautiful. But the thing that makes me compare them to the Sundays the most is the voice of the Anna Järvinen (vocals). It's soft, light, happy and sad. Devastatingly beautiful.

January 1997 Reviews by: Erik Söderström
Contact Sesame Records, Box 1144, 171 23 Solna, Sweden.
Phone: +46-(0)8-7301160. Fax: +46-(0)8-7355003.

[Super - Spark] Super - "Spark"
(CD5, Tangerine Records 1995, Tang-007. Time: 09.49) 1. Did You Notice The Spark? 2. Tune Into People's Democratic Movement 3. Children Sing of Trouble With Sex
Scandinavian Indie Review: "Did You Notice The Spark?" - Easy-listening pop reach my ears when this song starts. Not far from Cardigans now and then. But then it starts. The vocals. Minna's voice. A nervous one. Breaking a couple of times throughout the song even, and what's worse, it's out of tune most of the time! It makes me remember a band a friend of mine played in five or six years ago. The girl singing wasn't nervous, but she had somehow figured, on her own, that she couldn't sing in her normal tone of voice, so she raised her voice, high on the scales, all the time. She sounded like an opera singer. The problem was, this girl had been through a lot of schools training her voice. She was "full taught", and no one dared to say anything to her about her voice. But, of course, one day, they did talk to her, and she, resisting at first, did try to sing in her natural tone of voice, and everything sounded a thousand percent better.

"Tune Into People's Democratic Movement" - Beautiful, classy, easy-listening pop is found in this song. And the lyrics are actually great, even though it's only "pa paradada..." throughout the whole song. I think it was a smart move, because it makes you think about the music, and not the vocals. And the music is great. Well-smitten, swinging pop in the Cardigans aura. The best one on this single.

"Children Sing of Trouble With Sex" - Acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass and duet vocals. A short slow song, and even though Minna's voice isn't my cup of tea, she sings in this one, like the first one, but without breaking, and it isn't out of tune. I don't know really. I feel that if they wanted a song to end the single with, this is really a good selection.

February 1996 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: WWW:

[Twigs - Beast] Twigs - "Beast"
(MCD, Straight Bloke Records 1996, TWIGS 01. Time: 23.43) 1. Beast (2.56) 2. Bone Song (2.55) 3. Family Ties (2.23) 4. Your Sort of Girl (4.39) 5. Distasteful (2.59) 6. Trouble Me (7.49)
Scandinavian Indie Review: Would you believe that this band comes from Bergen, Norway when I tell you that their sound is fast and slow, speedy and catching its breath, a bit trashy, dirty, noisy, tough, lo-fi with rattling guitars? Yes, it is true. This is an indie pop band from Norway. With added female vocals it enters the dark alleys of The Breeders mixed with Dinosaur Jr/Sonic Youth. Growling guitars, deep deep down the scales. Enough slap bass to keep me happy for years to come. Great high and low, light and scratchy female vocals. Pretty Kristin Hersh-like at times, but also Breeders-esque through the duet vocals in 'Beast' and 'Bone Song'. The latter being very early Lush-like, with a garage sound to it, and also my second (or split first, I can not decide) favourite on the CD.

My personal favourite is 'Your Sort of Girl'. It is so fantastic that it is impossible to get out of my head. Single guitar leads the way to the bass, which fills the empty spot until the drums and the other guitar walks around the corner to join them. Then, Katy starts singing in a casual way, like she has said all this a thousand times before, trying to act like she does not care by not following the red thread the guitars, bass or drums have drawn up at all. But as soon as the chorus kicks in, we know that it is not true. And it is a very addictive chorus. The second time it goes into instrumental mode, building up and up and up to a climax with a gorgeous muffled metal, almost Cure-like effect on a guitar, then back into the chorus again. It makes me shiver. It is ingenious. "I know I should be hating you, always end up hating me. I wish that I could hate you now, really wish I could be free."

The last song, 'Trouble Me', makes me think of the non-Barlow Sebadoh mayhem sessions half the time, and if they had used a male vocalist here, the rest would be a Barlow or J. Mascis slowie. What I am trying to say is that it is dirty and beautiful at the same time.

I would love to see this band live, especially when they play the lengthy speeding, roaring train end of 'Trouble Me'. And maybe I will, as there are plans in the making for them.

The members are Katy (vocals, bass), Finn (guitar, bass, backing vocals), Morten (drums) and Per Steinar (guitar). And as this is a really good record, you should definitely contact the band if all this sounds interesting. Forget that they are from Norway! This band proves that great bands also come from our neighbor to the west!

December 1996 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: Finn Solemdal, Gronnevollen 14, 5016 Bergen, Norway. Phone: +47-55-961901.
Email: WWW:

[Yvonne - Modern Love] Yvonne - "Modern Love"
(CD5, Beat That! 1997, BEAT 007. Time: 04.50) 1. Modern Love (3.14) 2. She (1.34)
Scandinavian Indie Review: What can one say? After some time away from the Swedish indie-synth-pop scene, the Kings are now back! With the completely irresistible "Modern Love", an almost ridiculously sure radio-hit which we are going to enjoy in the same way we enjoyed last year's grand slam "Instant Repeater '99" (with Soundtrack Of Our Lives), they once again reclaim the throne from their leave-of-absence substitutes Superswirls.

March 1997 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: Beat That!, Box 147, 343 22 Älmhult, Sweden. Fax: +46-(0)476-10025.
Email: WWW:

[Various - A Chance To Shine] Various - "A Chance To Shine"
(CD, Dorian Records 1996, Dorian 02. Time: 72.17) 1. Violett - "Mitt Fel" 2. Grape - "Loser" 3. Fanscene - "Occupying My Mind" 4. Dune - "As She Lies Down" 5. Saliva - "Tender Castration" 6. aBLe - "I Was So In Love (and now I don't know why)" 7. The Git Shields - "It's Raining (all of the time)" 8. Aquadays - "June" 9. Kerouac - "Home" 10. Chewinggum Weekend - "Average Swede" 11. Silent Truth - "The Forest" 12. The Wellmeant - "Milou" 13. Muggins - "Solace" 14. The Immediates - "Pop Girl" 15. Blue Sunday - "Go On As Before" 16. In A Spring - "Rip Off" 17. Androgyne - "Unreal" 18. Dynamo Twins - "Harmless But Elusive" 19. Jellydivers - "The Angel Who Wore Red" 20. Shallow Soundwave - "Hyper"
Scandinavian Indie Review: With this amount of songs and all from different bands, it is impossible to write a review for every song. That's why I have picked out my personal five favorites and the compilation as a whole for this review. It is kind of obvious which two bands I have selected at the top - Aquadays and Shallow Soundwave of course!

Aquadays "June", here in a re-recording where the vocals are somewhat loud, compared to earlier recordings where the guitars were in focus. Though it is impossible not to love this! When I come to "June" after seven tracks, I relax and lean back, to float away with the beautiful, clean, soothing vocals and swirly, dreamy guitars. This is the band that actually catched the breeze, and I thank my lucky star that they did! I give them four and a half Slowdive stars (out of five, where five = Slowdive). (More info on the Aquadays Homepage).

Shallow Soundwave has got the "hardest" track on the compilation, but I feel it's a good song to end it with. You have read my review of "Hyper" before, and you know how much I raved about it then. Well, I can say that nothing has changed. I am still amazed by how good this song is - such fantastic vocals together with roaring, alarming and thunderous guitars makes me shiver with pleasure. It is hideous that we have to wait until the end of August for their new demo! Three Cocteau Twins stars for the vocals and four My Bloody Valentines for the music. (More info on the Shallow Soundwave Homepage).

The Wellmeant from Huskvarna is my third choice. I have had the pleasure of hearing this band a couple of years ago, when their music consisted mostly of guitar walls. And you know that I like that. Today they have added female vocals, and their music is more of the soft pop kind. A big risk to take when Cardigans are so close musically and (were) geographically that one is bound to think of them when a band in this genre comes from almost the same city. But I feel that The Wellmeant has succeeded to avoid much of this hazard, especially with the female vocals that gives Harriet Wheeler and The Sundays yet another reason to make another album. Though I wish the guitar walls were still there (but I always do, don't I?). That is four Harriet Wheeler stars.

Dune serves nice easy listening pop with acoustic guitars, drums and a transverse flute. Though it might sound simple, it is really captivating. Some of it must be credited to their female singer, because she has got a strong voice throughout the whole song, singing high or low tunes. I come to think of Pineforest Crunch, especially from the Harry Lime compilation CD "In The Limelight" when listening to this song. Though I don't mean that in a bad way, only that I think that the female vocals ought to be accompanied by male vocals from time to time. Yet, they receive three Pineforest Crunch stars for "As She Lies Down".

aBLe is another well-known band on the demo review pages. Their mix of electric guitar walls with a whining lap steel guitar, strong male and light female vocals.. It is a perfect concept! They have got their own sound, and what's even better, it sounds great! It is no wonder that this band is signed today (Harry Lime) - they have recorded their debut album which is set for release in August. We'll be treated to some great autumn pop songs, let me tell you! Five aBLe stars for "I Was So In Love"!

Other bands I would like to mention includes Fanscene who's sound I'd like to describe as a rock'n'roll Brainpool, and that means that I thoroughly enjoy "Occupying My Mind".

Grape starts off sounding just like Green Day (!) but fortunately it gets better. The duet male vocals are great, and the production is an extremely professional one, though it is not quite my cup of tea.

The Immediates' "Pop Girl" has apparently been played on the national radio a lot lately. Distorted vocals, trumpets and (always present) electric guitars. They win the lyrics award with: "She's in love with a Britpop star who doesn't know she exists, giant posters on the wall makes her father pissed, no matter what they say, she's my pop girl."

Blue Sunday actually sounds somewhat like a really early Suredo, and In A Spring has got an early Bear Quartet sound.

In the class for incredibly addictive female vocals, Androgyne wins by a mile. This girl really puts her soul into it. Screaming, extending her pronunciation in unknown directions, including a finnish accent and whatnot! I actually didn't like the song the first times I heard it, but it grew on me, and now I consider it to be one of the better tracks on the compilation. That is usually a good sign as well. Their sound? Well.. unreal? I want to hear more from this band!

The compilation as a whole is definitely worth every cent! I would recommend it it even if it only contained the five "top bands" listed above. Now, you get a whole bunch of great bands and songs in addition! Though it is true that there are a couple of low-water marks... one kind of expects that from a compilation. I dare you to name one that doesn't!

June 1996 Review by: Erik Söderström
Contact: Dorian Records, Seminariegatan 3, 302 32 Halmstad, Sweden.
Phone: +46-35-133226.

[Various - Emmaboda Festival 1997]

 Various - "Emmaboda Festival 1997"
(CD, Beat That! Records 1997, BEAT 014. Time: 74.34) 1. Eggstone - "Suffocation at Sea" (demo 91) (3.18) 2. Honey Is Cool - "Waiter" (pu) (3.51) 3. Tambureens - "Heartbreakers" (pu) (2.07) 4. Silverbullet - "Hacker II" (pu) (6.03) 5. Robot - "Bona Fide" (b-side) (2.33) 6. Yvonne - "Modern Love" (demo 96) (3.36) 7. Stargazer - "Never Thought" (pu) (3.33) 8. Sideshow Bob - "Whitetrash Looser" (pu) (3.23) 9. Sobsister - "Weeo" (pu) (2.36) 10. Mazarine Street - "Supercop" (promo b-side) (3.05) 11. Sonic Surf City - "Cheater Slicks" (1.35) 12. This Perfect Day - "High & Stupid" (reaggae version) (6.44) 13. Dipper - "Tie Break" (2.21) 14. Broder Daniel - "Sitting Out In The Cold" (demo 89) (4.43) 15. Bent Spanner Arty Banner - "Short Career" (pu) (4.50) 16. The Wellmeant - "No.1" (pu) (3.16) 17. Dim - "Mickey Mouse" (pu) (5.29) 18. Bad Cash Quartet - "I Can't Breath" (pu) (2.28) 19. Cry - "Stick Myself Inside" (demo) (3.53) 20. Fidget - "My Prawns" (pu) (2.52) 21. Backfish - "Green & Garlic" (pu) (2.16) pu = previously unreleased 89, 91, 96 = recorded 1989, 1991, 1996
Scandinavian Indie Review: This is the Emmaboda Festival 1997 CD compilation released to promote the festival this year. The festival takes place between August 8 - 9 in Emmaboda (southeastern Sweden). Subtitled "Mersmak" (roughly translated: "Craving for more"), the compilation keeps it's promise, and I have picked out the, IMHO, best songs for this review.

New thing: grades! 2/5 means 2 out of 5, 5 being the top grade. Here is the scale: 1 - not a chance, 2 - nothing I'd buy , 3 - good, 4 - great, 5 - fantastic.

Yvonne - "Modern Love" (demo version) Uh, well yeah, it definitely must be a demo version. It feels so slow, stuck to the floor with bubblegum, it's almost painful to listen to when you know how the result (the single/album version) sounds. But then again, it is interesting to hear what it sounded like once upon a time. 3/5

Fidget - "My Prawns" (pu) Umm.. well, it's included on their album, so it definitely has been released before. (ie. see the album review on the SIN website). 5/5

Backfish - "Green & Garlic" (pu) Beautiful. Sounds like the pre-Ken Stringfellow Backfish I treasure and love. I don't know if it was recorded before he came into the picture or not, but it doesn't matter, because it's a great song. When I first heard it, I instantly compared it to a Juliana Hatfield song, so that's the reference I'm going to give right now as well. 4/5

Eggstone - "Suffocation At Sea" (demo from 1991) I don't have the "Eggstone In San Diego" album from 1992 where the final version of this song appears, but if the demo is this good, the album version should be simply fantastic. I'm an Eggstone buff and I haven't found anything with them that I haven't liked. This one included. What can I say - it's an Eggstone song. 4/5

Sobsister - "Weeo" (pu) Didn't they play this one on the "Soda" TV show a couple of years ago? I taped it, but I can't find it right now. It sounds like a song I have heard before at least. Anyway, it's the best song on the compilation for sure. Tough and heavy guitars and devastatingly addictive vocals - begging sort of. It's way too short though - only 2:36. 5/5

Sideshow Bob - "Whitetrash Looser" (pu) I thought it was Loosegoats when I heard it - but looking at the cover I realised it was their younger brothers. The singer is the Loosegoats singer's younger brother, the drummer is the Loosegoats bassist's younger brother, the bassist goes on the road with Loosegoats helping out, and the second guitar player used to play with the Loosgoats bassist's old band. No wonder they sound like this. 4/5

Stargazer - "Never Thought" (pu) This is somewhat of a mix between melodic rock and shoegaze. Disted/muffled vocals together with enough guitars to make a wall here, rock-ish and screamy guitars with a fast pace drum beat there. Actually, I was only kidding about the shoegaze. This is just pure melodic rock. ;-) 2/5

Mazarine Street - "Supercop" (b-side from promo EP) I like Mazarine Streen enough to compare them to The Soundtrack of Our Lives / Union Carbide Productions. At least, IMHO, that is the case here. This could easily have been an old UCP song or a SoOL b-side. Water effect filled honest vocals and enough groove to the rock to make anyone dig it. 3/5

Dipper - "Tie Break" (pu) A trypical Dipper song. Mysterious breaks, a somewhat annoying song and vocals, but still good. It's hard to describe what they sound like to someone who has not heard them, so I guess this is somewhat of a useless task. 3/5

Bent Spanner Arty Banner - "Short Career" (pu) They are still in the "lo-fi with a weird twist" field if you ask me. Like Dipper, they use strange breaks, everything from almost completely silent sections where only a high-toned electric guitar sound can be heard to mayhem, chaos, screams, where the hellish Sebadoh songs comes to mind. 3/5

The Wellmeant - "No.1" (pu) I really don't have to review this band, do I? You all know what I think of them - amazing, beautiful, gorgeous, fantastic, wonderful (etc.) A mix between Harriet Wheeler (Sundays) vocals, drone guitars and organ/synth. Say something close to My Bloody Valentine with Harriet Wheeler on vocals and you understand what I mean. 5/5

Dim - "Mickey Mouse" (pu) Isn't it amazing? Yes, it is true. Dim definitely fits in the dreamy/shoegaze/floating pop genre that is so close to my heart. It is amazing to see more and more bands appearing there these days. Loads of guitar-walls, synth (violin sound), female vocals (though sometimes she sounds like a Cranberries-Dolores wannabe, which is disturbing). Hopefully the Dolores-effect will go away soon, creating a new star in my sky. 4/5

The rest receive a grade between 1-2. Actually, only Broder Daniel receives a 1. And yes, Bad Cash Quartet's song is really spelled "I Can't Breath" and Sideshow Bob's song is really spelled "Whitetrash Looser".

But considering that most of the 21 songs on the CD are good, a number of them great and a few fantastic (and you don't want to miss these, believe me), I highly recommend this compilation. It really gives you an idea of what's happening on the Swedish popscene today.

Total grade: 4/5 (4 out of 5)
June 1997 Review by: Erik Söderström

Contact: Beat That! Records, Box 147, 343 22 Älmhult, Sweden

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