CYMBELINE – 1965-1971

Guerssen 2018

CYMBELINE - 1965-1971


Cul-de-sac of reveries: homespun psychedelia from Sweden on a route from innocence to experience.

With a sole ’45 under their belt, released in 1971, this band would hardly deserve a footnote in a Scandinavian rock lore if not for the amount of tracks the teenagers recorded to get there… and go nowhere afterwards. Hailing from Norrköping, Michael Journath and Anders Weyde joined creative forces in mid-’60s and went through names such as MOTALA STRÖM and W&J before landing on CYMBELINE, but it was not until the arrival of Ulf Ryberg in 1970 that the group delivered the tangible result of their toil and trouble: an infectious rhythm-and-blues number “New York” – drastically different from what had been committed to tape earlier.

Most prominent in their cache is “Images” – a series of slightly experimental pieces which sees simple beat music stricken with proto-electronic effects and fuzz to drown teen vocals on “Third Image” and the theatrical “Fifth Image” spiked with raga, while the single B-side “Sixth Image” is neatly arranged to be wrapped in toned-down quasi-orchestral grandeur contrasting its otherwise unplugged drift. Acoustically tinctured “Flicka” would be an apex of the little ensemble’s lyrical flight, acid-kissed guitar and a frisky, if exquisite, jazz solo notwithstanding, yet, high on wah-wah, bass-driven likes of “Mittuppslag” reveals the group’s proclivity for early fusion – even though they rein in a tentative wigout. Elsewhere “Vinden Viskar Mar” may add airiness to the Swedes’ take on a certain Hendrix tune, and “Look At The Stars” may embrace spaghetti western sort of pop, rather than spaced-out bravado, but there’s cosmic intent in “Stolta Vingar” that would sound great live, of only the group take to the stage on a regular basis.

Something couldn’t gel, though, and a run of demos for the planned LP wasn’t finished, leaving the players so disillusioned they quit music altogether. Their legacy isn’t essential, yet remains precious as a curio.


July 15, 2018

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