Soundtrack of Our Lives

Behind the Music (Universal/Republic)

In case you haven't noticed, those damn Swedes are everywhere now, running rampant over the musical landscape with ridiculous names like Per and Pelle. And if none of these new arrivals -- like the Hives, Division of Laura Lee, Soundtrack of Our Lives, International Noise Conspiracy -- are able to join ABBA or Norway's A-ha in palindromic fun, each has contributed a major thematic thread to the pop/rock milieu in the past year. Not since Björk and Sigur Ros presented Iceland's finest face to the world, or when Air and Daft Punk united to represent France, has there been a more novel European presence.

Behind the Musicis Soundtrack of Our Lives' third album but only the first to make the trip stateside. It's filled with psychedelic frolics that may play too closely to their sources of inspiration but are still a heck of a lot of fun. "Infra Riot" starts things off with a predictable bed of jangling guitar until, a half minute in, a pleasantly surprising power riff erupts. Consistently catchy throughout, Behind the Musicjumps from one familiar sound to the next. "21st Century Rip Off" steals a Stones riff and maximizes its impact. Singer and primary songwriter Ebbot Lundberg, lends a Wall-era Pink Floyd whisper to "Broken Imaginary Time," while "Nevermore," with its linear sing-along melody, turns out to be the disc's single most memorable moment. Even "In Someone Elses Mind" is built on a guitar figure only a note removed from the Beatles' "Dear Prudence."

Though the band is retro through and through, you'll still find yourself rooting for Soundtrack of Our Lives instead of dismissing them. It's not that these kids have no ideas of their own; they simply prefer to remember pop's past glories. And even at weaker points like the schmaltzy "Tonight" and "In Your Veins," this is still a solid collection of well-crafted pop songs, and nothing deeper is attempted. All Behind the Music seeks to do is entertain, and that's just fine.

 
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