A wise man (Ian MacKaye no less) once said that ‘Furniture has no say in life’. Ironically it may be the Swedes themselves that are eclipsed by their most recognisable export, the utilitarian but essentially bland IKEA; Swedish culture in general remains somewhat a mystery to most of us.
For example ask someone to name some Swedish music and they will almost invariably say
The four horsemen (and women) of Sweden’s personal cultural apocalypse.
Other ‘honorable’ mentions might go to ‘Alphabeat’ or ‘that incessant whistling song you haven’t been able to escape since 2006‘.
In alternative culture Sweden has also become synonymous with a brutally fast , heavy and technical (sometimes all three) cocktail of Hardcore and Metal. The twin scenes of Umeå (Meshuggah, Refused, Cult of Luna) and Gothenburg (At The Gates, In Flames etc) are cultural hotspots for all things loud and Dark.
The softer underbelly of Sweden’s music scene is one sadly oft neglected, particularly by those outside the country itself, at this point I feel it appropriate to introduce Twiggy Frostbite, a three-piece hailing from Galve who are more sonically akin to Iceland’s Bjork or Múm than any of Sweden’s recent exports.
The band play a kind of post-rock but with pop sensibilities keeping songs fairly short and with vocals as a focal point thus avoiding the pitfall of the stereotypical ‘aimlessly sprawling soundscape’ typical of the genre.
‘Twiggy Frostbite’ perfectly encapsulates the sound of debut album ‘Through Fire’, which superficially sounds more Gothenburg than post-rock. Icy, delicate melodies weave through dense sound-scapes making for a fairly eerie listen, though rewarding nonetheless.
‘Chimera’ is a particular highlight with a sparse, portishead-esque organ riff opening clashing with unpredictable vocal melodies and that old post rock standard- delay drenched guitar. It doesn’t take much of a leap in imagination to believe this music was crafted not far from the arctic circle; the song literally sounds ‘cold’.
currently the band are recording the follow-up to their debut, or working on side projects – The Deer Tracks new EP also comes highly recommended.
Definitely ones to keep your beady little eyes on.
In the meantime check out this Swedish slab of garage rock
Minimal, psychotic and jagged as fuck. Just how I like it.
See you on the dancefloor.