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World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band? (Revisited)


The Soundtrack of Our Lives - Behind The Music
(Republic Records)
4 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Nov. 7, 2002

Review by Tony Bonyata

Not unlike Seattle in the early '90s, Sweden has become the new breeding ground for resurgent rock 'n' roll. And although there isn't one band in the whole meatball that's got any new ingredients, their back-to-basics, high-energy, well-crafted rock is, nonetheless, the breath of fresh of air that the rock world has been desperately in search of. (Let's also please keep in mind that when Kurt Cobain spearheaded the entire grunge movement, he was no more groundbreaking as he blatantly wore his influences on the sleeve of his tattered sweater.)
While The Hives may be the current Swedish sweeties at the moment, the cream of the crop of all of these rock revivalists is actually the pretentiously monikered band The Soundtrack of Our Lives.
Like their Scandinavian brethren, T.S.O.O.L.'s sound is definitely nothing new, but it carries with it a pliable "don't squeeze the Charmin" freshness that's hard not to embrace. Even the band comes clean, as singer/ instrumentalist Ebbot Lundberg admits on the track "The Flood," when he sings, "They say we're all backdated and you know it's true." But what they do prove on their third album Behind The Music, is that infectious songs, which are well written and expertly performed, don't need to be 'cutting edge' or revolutionary to fall in the category of greatness.
Rather than following suit with Brit-pop bands (who they've been mistakenly likened to) who've singularly drawn most of their inspirations from The Beatles' Revolver, T.S.O.O.L.'s third album Behind The Music, pulls from a much broader range of influences, such as Pink Floyd ("In Someone Else's Mind" and "Mind The Gap"), Billy Corgan on holiday (on the lilting "Tonight"), The Who (on the meaty beaty "21st Century Rip Off" and big and bouncy "Still Aging") and ciggies-in-the-sleeve garage rock ("Independent Luxury" and "Sister Surround") without mimicking or mockery.
Lundberg not only does a great job at vocally projecting his influences, but even a better one at masking them, as he makes a believable case that, along with his five other Swedish cohorts Karl Gustaffson, Fredrik Sandsten, Martin Hederos, Mattias Barjed and Ian Person, he may actually be rock's new savior delivering significant numbers cloaked in a shiny new robe.
Blending a pinch of psychedelia with blissful acoustic guitars, near-perfect pop and a trailer-full of Nuggets-era garage rock T.S.O.O.L. are not only the best band to emerge from the bubbling Swedish wellspring right now, but are also in the running - at least for today - for the lofty self-imposed title once solely owned by The Rolling Stones.

The Soundtrack of Our Lives will be performing on Nov. 13th at Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL. (773) 549-3604

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