You know how it works. You’re surfin’ the net, clickin’ on this and that and generally wasting a whole lot of time searching for the next slice of musical coolness you wanna add to your library and you just can’t help but noticing how everyone and their grandma keeps mentioning GRAVEYARD’s second full-length “Hisingen Blues.”
The cover art is really cool but they look a little too hip and you wonder if they’re the same band that put out that “Documents of Grief” album and then you realize you’re thinking of the wrong band and you end up passing them by and ‘purchasing’ some obscure Proggy Black Metal band who everyone loves and hates. You know the one.
In any case, you keep coming by GRAVEYARD’s “Hisingen Blues” and it’s not long until you’re seeing their album cover in your cereal, in the toilet, behind the swirling ceiling fan blades, hell, your slut girlfriend’s tramp stamp suddenly looks like four guys rafting like Huck Finn down the Mississippi…if it wasn’t already. “Fuck it,” you yell, standing in your underpants and surrounded by a rockpile of Diet Coke cans, “GRAVEYARD, you best be good.”
And, to no great surprise, of course, they’re good. In fact, GRAVEYARD and their wholly unthreatening and catchy 70’s Rock soul-weavings are better than good, they’re great. A stonish potpourri of LED ZEPPLIN and LYNARD SKYNARD and THE DOORS and SOUNDGARDEN and DEEP PURPLE and CREAM and whatever other bands these guys may or may not remind you of, GRAVEYARD play a splendid tribute to the bands before them by creating a professional and distinctly organic assemblage of full-blooded songs that are never short on soul nor shine.
Also unusual is how with all of the aforementioned ‘similar-sounding’ bands, GRAVEYARD still resonate with something they can call their own. Sure, there are a lot of ‘reminders’ on the album, but there’s much more ingenuity than you’d expect, with tracks like “Longing,” a wonderful spaghetti western instrumental, and the stirring and emotional closing track “The Siren” stealing the show.
There’s little about “Hisingen Blues” that doesn’t impress. The rhythm section is fulsome and infectious and the guitar work is big and grooving with plenty of rocking Blues knowhow, but the vocals by frontman Joakim Nilsson is where the band will begin to separate themselves from the majority of other drifting Rock acts. Nilsson’s voice is giant, wild, and uniquely intimate in the ways of Robert Plant, Janis Joplin, and Ronnie Van Zant, immediately drawing the listener in with his range and arrangements.
If you were like me, and continued to pass this album by, do yourself a favor and give it a chance. I’d say it’s a grower, but that wouldn’t make much sense seeing as how I enjoyed it from the get-go. Songs like “No Good, Mr. Holden” and “Uncomfortably Numb” and “Ungrateful are the Dead” should all give you righteous examples of how sturdy an act these Swedes are. Timelessly cool.
(Online January 31, 2012)