Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The purest rock'n'roll from Gothenburg

It's often the case that the biggest innovators, or even just the smartest, purest bands in their fields tend to get criminally overlooked. In some ways that's a good thing for we connoisseurs of the rock'n'roll, as we get to keep it sharp and unsullied by the taint of stardom. But on the other hand I'm quite sure that the bands themselves would like to be able to pay the rent without having to resort to a dreary day job.

But for all those briefly hip acts who forge a couple of quick hits before being consigned to the dustbin of uncoolness, there are a dozen who even crash and burn before they raise a murmor. And then there's those who plough on regardless, turning out disc after disc of fabulous stuff. Gothenburg's Sillverbullit are just that kind of band.

Formed in 1995, they were originally called Sillverbullet, until someone who already had a similar name went and had a moan. Indeed, they're known as Citizen Bird in America to cut down on potential lawsuits. But whatever name they happen to go by on any given day, they've consistently been chucking out three great albums and touring furiously, but to little commercial success - although they did manage to bag a gong for the best Swedish album of 2004 with their Arclight CD.

Unusually they've stuck with the same line-up right through their career, bound together by their howling dervish of a lead singer Simon Ohlsson. So fractious and unhinged can he get that he was once thrown out of a venue by security while the rest of the band played on.

But what do they sound like? A fantastically atmospheric high octane, ambient rock and roll onslaught, yet still capable of some devistatingly tender moments. Every song sounding like an extended intro, they hurl out the chunkiest riffs like they were playing the last song on Earth, sounding a little like the sixties would have if punk had happened in 1959. Or like Joy Division borrowed Can's metronome and upped sticks to Scandinavia. Swirling clouds of organ lap around the guitars like a filthy cloud of lust, while Ohlsson slurs out poems to human politics, smiting all the numbskulls and thoughtless haters as he goes.

They don't get out that often these days, but when they do it's incendiary. So if you spot the name when you trawl the listings make sure you get out and see them. Fellow Swedes like The Hives, The Hellacopters and Backyard Babies may have stolen some of their commercial thunder, but this Silverbullit can duke it out with the best of them, and would win a live play off hands down.

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