Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Radio Dept.

Sweden has its share of death metal, doom metal, gloom metal, metallic metal, etc., but what the country has really succeeded in is its export of Pop music. ABBA conquered the world in 70's and we continue to be charmed or irritated by their evergreen oeuvre.

Every country has its Pop music, but unlike, say Poland, or Portugal, Sweden has successfully competed and pushed hitmakers past the US/UK hegemony of Pop
with bands like Roxette, A-Ha, the Cardigans, and Ace Of Base, et al. Less known, but no less worthy of attention, are The Radio Dept., The Bridal Shop, Cinnamon, and Action Biker (whom I've already written about and interviewed here).

Swedish pop is clean and shiny, and so pretty, it's all white and gold. The most refined example I can think of is Club 8, a duo so delicate it seems they might
break if they dare take a breath.

I do love The Radio Dept., a band that looks a bit rough around the edges, but make the most appealing fuzzy pastel noises.
Many of their tracks start with a beat that rocks out, only to be washed over with lovely, fizzing guitar strumming. Johan Duncanson always sounds like he's singing through a length of plumbing. I really admire a band that can write a tune called "Pet Grief," which is not meant as a metaphor, but is actually about consoling a friend (presumably feminine) going through that sad process. And it's done without irony or phony naivete. The song's plainspoken earnestness is sweet and poignant: