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How Swede It Is

Division of Laura Lee

Division of Laura Lee - Black City
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Oct. 12, 2002

By Tony Bonyata

There's either something in the water over there or then it must be all those naughty mags from Sweden that, as of lately, has been producing a veritable onslaught of hot new rock acts from this Scandinavian country.
Following a wave of Swedish bands high on energy and short on patience, such The Hives, The Hellacopters and The (International) Noise Conspiracy, comes Division Of Laura Lee, a quartet that, while fitting somewhat uncomfortably in with the recent Swedish invasion of bombastic garage rockers, still retains enough of their own personality to stand on their own rickety soapbox.
On their debut album Black City guitarist/ vocalist Per Stalberg, along with bassist / vocalist Jonas Gustavsson, guitarist David Ojala and drummer Hakan Johansson, lay down twelve impressive tracks that are filled with, at times, grunge ("The Truth Is @#*"), dreamy '80s new wave pop (" Trapped In") and atmospheric art rock ("I Walk On Broken Glass"). But what fills out the lion's share of this album is an intense, passionate drive as they aptly translate with their rubbery punk rock ("We've Been Planning This For Years" as well as the souped-up goth-rock title track) and punchy, to-the-point trash rock ("Wild and Crazy," "Access Identity").
While Gustafsson's vocals leap from the speakers for the most part, he also has the dexterity to provide a more soulful delivery, as witnessed on the more reflective number "I Guess I'm Healed." With more of a 'shoot first, ask questions later' approach to their six-strings, Ojala and Stalberg's guitars rarely stop long enough to think about where the heart of the songs lie. Churning out fast and sloppy riffs in true garage rock spirit, these Swedes prove they don't need no stinking melodies to make a statement. Just get out of the way and nobody will get hurt.

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