Indie pop band Janice Prix weren’t exactly accepted by their local crowd at first. Deciding to create synth heavy sounds with clean vocals and big pop hooks didn’t exactly endear them to their neighbourhood and a scene full of metal oriented bands. If there’s something the Swedes have always been good at, though, it’s creating good pop hooks…and so Janice Prix continued on their quest undeterred. Their debut EP ‘Nobody Would Know’ says so much about their determination as their talent. Its five songs are layered in synths and punchy drum loops, yet at the same time, there’s a huge sound and just enough guitar to endear them to the kind of people who expect their pop to deliver a bit more than a quick sugar fuelled hit.
In 2011, something unexpected happened. The most perfect homage to American westcoast pop sounds appeared in the shape of a debut album by a band named State Cows. Bits of Toto, Airplay, Maxus and pretty much everything with that vibe from 1978-81 was reborn in an almost flawless contemporary recording. It was almost impossible to tell whether the recordings had been sitting in a vault since 1980. Even more unbelieveable, these wondrous American sounds were recreated in a much less sunny Sweden. For westcost lovers, tracks like ‘New York Town’ and the wryly humorous ‘Stella By The Barlight’ became fast and firm favourites. Two years on, the aptly named ‘The Second One’ brought more of the same, but was perhaps a little weaker in places. Not that State Cows had lost their knack for retro sounds – the songs were very strong; it was more that element of surprise was gone.
Formed from the ashes of several local acts in 2016, Swedish melodic metal band In Silence took a while before they got around to recording their debut EP. Like most bands, they honed their craft with various live shows before releasing any studio material, but ‘One For All’ kick starts their recording career with a bang. The three featured songs are hugely contemporary for the time of release and the production values are nice and sharp throughout. Simply put, there’s nothing about this recording that sounds low budget, half-arsed or like the work of a band that wasn’t absolutely ready.
Humanity Delete’s second album, the retail-unfriendly titled ‘Fuck Forever Off’, was a great piece of death metal. For those able to make it past the terrible name and even worse sleeve art, the album showed how it was possible to take classic death metal tropes, shake them up a little and come up with something that felt traditional and yet still new and relevant. Often sounding like a death metal infused Lamb of God, these Swedes definitely showed an ability with a riff.
Diskopunk have been slowly releasing tracks across digital platforms since 2016. It was looking increasingly like they were going to tease the world with bits and pieces forever, but the beginning of 2019 brought a self titled EP and, with that, finally something more substantial for those who’ve enjoyed the previous digital singles.
In terms of their very European electronica, the bulk of this self-titled release is very assured in the way it throws catchy hooks into melodic beats. It also isn’t afraid to feel like throwaway fun at times either, but what comes across most is that old Scandinavian gift for a strong melody – something that’s often obvious throughout, even if you’re not really that big on dance oriented stuff.