Scandinavian legends return into the fray to show their followers where the fires burn brightly.
Three decades into their existence, these Swedes have long outgrew their garage locale to become revered by both their predecessors such as THE DICTATORS and a new crop of noisemakers like THE HELLACOPTERS, both bands taking part in “20 Years Too Soon – A Tribute To The Nomads” in 2003. Ten years on, the quartet finally found the strength to fashion a follow-up to 2001’s "Up-Tight" having tested the waters first in the Old World before rejigging the platter for America, the “Loaded” addition a perfect characteristic of the album’s might. Neither dirty nor full of gloss, it rides classic Chuck Berry riffs with panache yet keeps the swagger in check, as none of the dozen cuts on offer reaches the 4-minute mark, but each of those, from the piano-sprinkled “Miles Away” through the hard-rocking, arresting “Don’t Kill The Messenger” to the “Get Out Of My Mind” sonic exorcism, is wonderfully sharp and tight.
Merry on the aural front, the foursome measure today’s desperation with the memorable modern era anthem “The Bad Times Will Do Me Good” and the fuzzy twang of “Up, Down Or Sideways” that veers away from the almost unrelenting groove into a quieter, although no less dangerous, zone. This place may well be an arena towards which Niklas Vahlberg’s voice pushes the troglodyte’s fatality of “Hangman’s Walk” while the band, Joakim Werning’s backbeat kicking Hans Ostlund’s guitar wall, tap into the listener’s primal instincts, but then the punkoid sway of “American Slang” has “club party” written all over it. As its title suggests, “Solna” rolls over the group’s home-ground yet, what with globalization, its appeal is universal and, after all these years, the quartet’s zip is enviably undimmed. A beacon in the present gloom.