The Soundtrack of Our Lives
Yep Roc Records
Releasing a double album in 2010 is risky from a monetary standpoint, what with the focus on singles and MP3s and blah, blah, blah. But that posits that there are still rules and some foolproof formula for operating successfully in the modern music business — apart from winning a national karaoke contest.
Sweden’s Soundtrack of Our Lives take that chance with their fifth album. Communion features more than 90 minutes of soothing, euphoric, textured psych-rock. The sextet gives up the goods on both discs.
Communion begins with the epic “Babel On,” which captures all the elements of the album. No joke. It starts out like one of those meditative nature CDs. You know, the ones with the trickling waterfalls and woodwind playing in the background. The song moves into intermingling riffs, a low drum beat, and a bunch of other instrumentation (all six members are put to good use). Ebbot Lundberg sings “Come on!” periodically. It’s damn near majestic.
The first disc is the most rewarding in terms of catchy hooks with all songs slipping effortlessly into blissful arrangements. The two middle tracks each pause halfway through, then speed up, but to different effects. The tribal “Ra 88” starts strong and rocking but then explodes into a guitar solo freakout. “Second Life Replay” begins with a “Black Bird”-esque guitar figure and ends with church-like echoes and a charging organ.
The second set of songs from Communion uses acoustic guitars and strings to create a more mellow effect than the first disc. However, the second disc isn’t boring. “Lost Prophets in Vain” is downright folkish and “Reconnecting the Dots” swaggers in its stompy groove. The beautifully arpeggioed “Digitarian Riverbank” is the lone instrumental. Two songs later, the wedding-reception worthy “Without Warning” plays super sweet and has a hushed lullaby-like quality. Lundberg instructs, “Get on with your life/ it’s not too late” in Communion‘s final track.
Obviously, Soundtrack of Our Lives took their own advice. If you remember, the press lumped their third album in the “rock revival” of 2001 along with the White Stripes and fellow Swedes the Hives. In fact, the chunky riff of “Thrill Me” on Disc 1 is reminiscent of “21st Century Rip Off” — a track from Behind the Music.
While the mainstream hype didn’t last, the Soundtrack of Our Lives did. The ambitious Communion shows that maybe it really is all about the music. How refreshing.
The Soundtrack of Our Lives: www.tsool.net