Friday, February 24, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 255: The Soundtrack of Our Lives - Behind the Music

Album – Behind the Music
Artist – The Soundtrack of Our Lives
Key Players - Fredrik Sansten – drums and percussion. Ian Person – guitar, backing vocals, percussion. Ebbot Lundberg – lead vocals, sitar, harmonica and dulcimer. Martin Hederos – piano, Mellotron, organ, backing vocals, Mattias Bärjed – guitar, backing vocals. Åke Karl Kalle Gustafsson – bass, backing vocals, double bass violin and cembalo.

Produced By
- Johan Forsman and The Soundtrack Of Our Lives

Release Date – September 24, 2002 (US Release)

What caused me to blow off the dust? - When this record came out I was ravenous for them. I couldn't get enough. They couldn't release a follow up record and tour enough for me. The story how I found out about them is fun. I used to order stuff from time to time from Parasol Mail Order (now closed) and they did a year end best of list from their staffers. If they had 10 people working 9 of them had it on their list and 8 of them had it as number 1. I figured I'd take a chance and I bought it sight unseen.

Overview – Formed in 1995 in Gothenburg, Sweden The Soundtrack Of Our Lives (or T.S.O.O.L) blend 60's and 70's punk rock and toss in a little psychedelic rock. The band has found success in Europe with all of their albums breaking the top 10 and the last two hitting #1 in Sweden. This is their third full length release and would be nominated for a Grammy Award in 2003 for “Best Alternative Album”. They have had moderate success elsewhere, and they continue to write and perform live.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The 15 track 57+ minute album opens up with guitars and drums sounding like they are around a campfire, slowly building, then an electric cuts through it and "Infra Riot" takes off. Lundberg has a deep baritone that seems to soar over the guitars. The band is fully on task as the Sansten rumbles across his kit. As the chorus hits Lundberg pushes himself even further. The band comes around on the same melody of the intro then they have a very cool jam on the backside with a lot of various instruments. Gustafsson has some swooping basslines and they rumble to a close. Sandsten locks the groove as "Sister Surround" begins and the tandem on guitar of Barjed and Person fire off one another. The song feels a little slow in tempo but the band has some good harmonies on the chorus as the two guitars really seem to fight each other while Gustafsson holds a strong bass line This was the first single I heard on the radio from the band, and it is a solid example of who/what the band is about. "In Someone Else's Mind” is a mellow acoustic lead track. The song title, the vibe of the track will have you thinking 60's psychedelic music for sure. The guitar riff repeats and there are bird songs, but nothing other than Lundberg on vocals. After the first verse we hear more of the Hederos keyboard parts, but it returns to its laid back feel once more. Acoustics are out at the start of "Mind the Gap" and Lundberg starts to sing. After part of a verse Hederos comes up in piano. This is the first really dominate piano track. The full band comes in after the first verse. Again, the song seems to be a mid-tempo affair, but Lundberg just has this voice that causes you to really pay attention. Once the chorus comes the band again has some nice harmonies and the slide guitars on the back side add to the quality of this very solid track. Hederos channels his church organ player as "Broken Imaginary Time” gets underway. It is a quiet and somber feeling track with Hederos getting the primary focus. Lundberg sings to fit the mood as well. The track doesn't seem to speed up or really change in mood, there is a string section, but it feels like a song that would work in a horror film. Hederos then pushes the organ to a pipe organ as the guitars swell along with it, ringing the notes and Lundberg quietly sings and is taken over by some spoken word parts (including N.Armstrong's “one small step...line). We get a little more uptempo and fun as "21st Century Rip Off" starts. This has a 60's pop feel to it. The strong bass work from Gustafsson returns and the guitars are quick and biting. The band channels some Rolling Stones like guitar riffs at the end as well. Hederos is alone on piano as "Tonight" begins. Again he is given room to get the song going before Lundberg begins. The track is just the two of them with no other instruments until some strings come in to fill out the sound. If anything this shows that Lundberg has both a strong and unique voice. The band is good at mixing up song styles as the track "Keep the Line Movin'" opens with a rumbling, marching band like drum line. Barjed and Person get to fire off one another and each takes a brief solo. Gustafsson continues to be the rock holding everyone on task with his bass work. "Nevermore" is another fun acoustic lead track, but it is not a mellow track by any means, just the guitars open up the track ringing out. It sounds as if the bass drum head is loose on Sandsten's drum kit as it has this loose “whap” to the kick drum. Hederos has a short piano section after the verse, in lieu of a guitar solo which is a nice touch. Even still, the slide guitar solo does appear, but the piano portion is more rewarding. Not to be outdone, there is a second, “cleaner” guitar solo but it is just the right length before the vocals begin. Sounding like a train Lundberg scats the intro to "Independent Luxury. As Gustafsson gets the bass rolling the guitars come in. This reminds me of a Kula Shaker type psychedelic track. Hederos find the right buttons on his synth and this track gets down and funky and the band almost seems to “bounce'. Its hard to describe, but when you hear it you can see the band all smiling at one another just wanting to jam on the progression for hours on end. Back to the acoustic guitars as "Ten Years Ahead" starts. Again the two guitars play before Lundberg starts to sing. He is left alone for the verses as the two guitars range from straight riffs to almost flamenco style strumming. Sandsten clicks the snare and then Hederos puts in some light piano/organ notes. Still its a showcase for the guitars and is even more to the point when the percussive instruments and organ really gel. A solid track. I find the track "Still Aging" sounding like a left over XTC song. That is not a bad thing by any stretch either. Another solid, fun track. We slow it down again for "In Your Veins" where the acoustic guitar starts the track. The second guitar is the electric but it plays a few short notes and Lundberg is joined by Hederos. Strings also make a return on the track giving it a much fuller sound. "The Flood" also starts off on the quieter side, but, don't let that fool you. It takes off and the band all comes together with Lundberg almost screaming his vocal parts. From bass, to drums, to the guitars everyone seems frantic. It is still put together though, it is a controlled chaos. The album concludes with Into the Next Sun". Hederos does the slow build and Lundberg sings his first verse before playing the harmonica. The track is a bit on the mellow side but is a solid album closer.

Where are they now? - The band is still active both in the studio and on tour. They have a new album slated for April of 2012 called “Throw it To The Universe”

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I only ever saw the band live one time. It was March 24, 2003 at Lupos in Providence Rhode Island. The band was first slated to play the much smaller attached club called “The Met” and it was moved to Lupos. We had a lot of elbow room...a lot. The band didn't seem to mind the lighter crowd and they brought a full rock set. I was actually thinking the band, and all their gear wouldn't have fit very well on the other stage.

FDF Overall Take – There are some really strong tunes on this record. Sure the band might not "look the part" but there is no doubt that they know how to write and perform. The band could use some PR here in the states as the last few records seem to have gone un-noticed. Check this one out though and be surprised and excited like I was. Trust me.

Official Site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The album is still in print, you can find it here.


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