Two years on from the slice of excellence which was ‘Et Ex’ and the eclectic Swedes are back with their sixth album. Since the beginning, David Lundberg (Fender Rhodes, Grand Piano, Mellotron & Synthesizers) and Alexander Skepp (Drums & Percussion) have been firmly at the helm, while Gabriel Tapper (Bass Guitar & Moog Taurus Pedals) has been there since 2004 and Rasmus Booberg (Guitars & Synthesizers) joined just after the last album. However, they have now expanded to a quintet with the addition of percussionist Jesper Skarin (Misery Loves Co/Switch Opens) and have dived firmly into the world of Krautrock. While they have been influenced heavily by Tangerine Dream in the past, this sees them moving much further into the genre, even using many old synthesisers (care of producer Daniel Fagerström) and creating something which is both dated and right up to date.
The strange thing is it is probably the guitar and especially bass guitar which provides the life to this album. The keyboards may move and swirl, but those give the direction and power: one knows this is music which is designed to be taken out on the road when the opportunity arises as opposed to being just a studio operation, as it has that vitality and drive. There is also a strong use of dynamics and contrasts, and this is brought together with repeated melodies and tangents which make this a compelling piece of music. They have also moved towards shorter songs, with only one breaking six minutes while they had four of that length or more on the last one. The title track itself sounds like Kraftwerk being brought into a rock environment, with pounding drums at the back and guitar/bass taking over from the synths when the time is right. I really enjoyed their last album, which was something of a breakthrough for them in many ways, but this one is actually better. If you have yet to investigate Gösta Berlings Saga then now is the time to do that with ‘Konkret Musik’