Soundtrack of Our Lives, The Dears make for meaty music
Axis, Boston, March 24, 2005
By Jeffrey B. Remz
BOSTON - The Soundtrack of Our lives is an interesting name for a music group because perhaps the name of the Swedish group gives listeners pause to consider what would be on their soundtrack of life.
Seemingly, classics would make the list of many people instead of au courant. For a chunk of us, that might include folks like the Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd. Lots of meat on the hoof for those groups with songs that mattered and music with a sense of passion.
And for Soundtrack of Our Lives, both Pink Floyd and particularly the Stones come off as groups that would most definitely be on their life soundtrack.
While those may be most welcome reference points, don't get the impression that this is a second rate group imitating its heroes. Far from it.
In fact, SOOL gave one solid, energetic, passionate session of rock and roll during their 85 minutes on stage before about a half house of 300 people with a ferocity not seen for quite awhile.
Touring just behind their second U.S. release and first in three years, "Origins 1," the group is fronted by lead singer Abbot Lundberg. He is a bear of a man, burley with a full beard. But he also has a solid voice in putting forth the lyrics with a touch of wildness about him (especially when he became bug eyed every once in awhile). It wasn't fearful rock ' n' roll or something parents to be afraid of, but he had just about enough to make it interesting.
A double guitar attack from Ian Person and Mattias Barjed also proved quite lively with both flailing about, offering leg kicks every so often. This did not come off as being clichéd, but, instead, as musicians passionate about their music.
And drummer Fredrick Sandsten, decked out in a referee's zebra shirt, was a model of timekeeping, setting great paces throughout on songs that cooked time and time again.
This mix was true in song after song from the opening "Believe I've Found" to the closing "21st Century Rip Off."
By evening's end, the old line of "no filler, all killer, sure seemed to ring true.
If guitar-based, melodic rock and roll takes off once again, Soundtrack of Our Lives ought to definitely be on everyone's list.
The Dears, apparently one of the hot Montreal scene's best, preceded with a real fine set of their own. Led by Murray A. Lightburn, The Dears mixed it up between instrumentals (the 10-minute long opener "Destroy Us") and vocals, though the intensity clearly drew from the music, not the vocals. And that mix also went from soft and spare to hard, fast and intense.
Having two keyboardists, including one, Valerie Jodoin-Keaton, who plays flute, and both on backing vocals, added depth to the music.
There is a bit of an artsy coldness to The Dears, a seriousness about them, though not so much so that it's off-putting. Just the opposite because the quality of the music comes through time and again.
Fortunately, their music is up to snuff with enough of a beat to draw the listener in.
The Dears have released several albums in he States, though only their last disc ("No Cities Left") was on a label of any size at all (SpinArt). They maintain a popularity in their native country and have toured in Europe and will hit Asia.
With high quality songs and musicianship, maybe it won't be so long before The Dears are regulars on this side of the border as well.
American Minor from West Virginia opened with a bluesy-based rock sound. Nothing new or striking, but a good set with a Led Zep influence apparent.