Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sweden on Blast

Scandinavians undoubtedly are some smart people. Just look at them. Attractive women. High GDP per capita. Social programs that are more or less the envy of the rest of the world. An unquenchable desire to consume vast amounts of herring. Fjords. You get the picture.

It's not that surprising then to notice just how much fantastic music is emanating from that part of the world at the moment then, from repurposed pop covers to Danish jazz to something so weird and eccentric it hasn't even been given a trendy, blogosphere-marketable name yet. But it's inevitable that moments of genius are being discovered much more frequently in areas with huge numbers of fluent English speakers and broadband penetration unparalleled even by the Japanese.

Cut City, a Gothenburg, Sweden three piece, dispel the myth that New York City and England hold the monopoly on revisionist post-punk inspirations, but they do prove that the infamous sound pioneered by Joy Division and others will not be slowly put to its death anytime soon by an army of Interpol-lite wannabes.

With the release of their debut Exit Decades February 6, Cut City promise to prolong the debate on the legitimacy of a subgenre much-maligned by critics of new music by offering up a serviceable album that effectively mixes the trademark offering of high synths and low toned, drawn out vocals. Lead vocalist and guitarist Max Hansson seems careful enough in moderating balance between a necessity to let his lyrics compete with the textured instrumentals laid upon them.

Although this overcautious approach may limit the number of spectacular moments found on Exit Decades, there remain a number of opportunities throughout the album to point out their understanding of their influences. By adding their own well thought out interpretations of angular guitar work, we may be given an indication of what the sonical future holds for the likes of groups such as Cut City, Interpol, and Bloc Party. While counterbalancing your predecessors' sound with an updated twist may seem like a paltry homage to the music of years gone by, when done effectively as Cut City has on Exit Decades it serves as a successful reminder that a modernized version of a well known staple can remain viable. The question yet to be determined is whether there remains enough room in the mindsets of active listeners for bands that are good but not great. It will be groups such as Cut City that ultimately will succeed or fail depending on that determination.

Cut City - The Dull Miles (zshare)

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