Attitude Recordings [Release date 04.05.18]
Sweden seems to export rock bands these days like China exports plastic shit – at least for now until Trump’s trade war kicks in – but is every one a Volvo? On the evidence of these lads’ second album, “For The Wilder Minds”, you’d have to say they’re a hybrid, combining the sleek sportiness of the V90 with the heavy solidity of the 4×4 range.
You just can’t sidestep the irony of a band which call themselves Greybeards and yet have a Facebook post of their only band member who went to school in the ‘90s. I must say I am partial to bands whose line-up is all six/four-string and no bling-bling so this four-piece from Gävle, Sweden where (I shit you not – they ceremonially burn the Yuletide Goat every Christmas) immediately get their foot in my door.
Full of adolescent piss-and-vinegar but with a mature lyrical conscience, Niklas Nironen (drums), Simon Mojtahedi (bass), Ingemar Martensson (guitars) and Olle Westlund (vocals and guitars) have been around since 2012 and differentiate themselves with well thought-out, hooky song-writing which makes “For The Wilder Minds” a pretty damn cool second album.
This album is vocally-tsunamic and resplendent throughout and comparisons with the bombastic rock of the Foo Fighters have inevitably, and not unreasonably, surfaced. However, there is a fresh-blood enthusiasm about this band – not especially original but who cares when it’s proper, high energy rock and roll?
“Fast Asleep” is the infectious lead-off track and second single from the album which gets in your head and whispers “hey, I think we might have a gem of a band here”. That whisper is confirmed as the excellent “One In A Billion” follows – this must have been a close choice for a single release – sitting somewhere between The Cult and Poison-era Alice Cooper.
There is a harder and more sinister edge to “Come Undone”, a thudding, pacey cut and exactly where the Foo comparisons start. This high-octane chorus theme continues on “Free” with power vocals featuring strongly on this sweaty and very satisfying cut. The band gets a bit more pop-tastic on “You Struck Me” whilst “Peace of Mind” is the somewhat-obligatory but decent-enough ballad.
You know “that Knack Sharona” staccato riff……Greybeards sprinkle a little amphetamine-rush dust over something similar on “Insane” which morphs into riotous bellowing yell of a chorus either side of some neat arrangements.
Seemingly saving one of the best for last, the final cut “The Nerve” is a possessed and fevered 6-plus minute epic which has “gig encore” written all over it. At about the four minute mark, you think the big climax is over but they’re just getting started in finishing the song – cracking stuff.
Maybe it’s just me but does front-man Westlund physically resemble that cocksure, gives-not-one-f**k Francis Rossi of yore?
I just read that Finland, Norway, Denmark (which are the top three) and Sweden all feature in the top ten happiest places on earth to live. Is there any correlation between that and some of the top-draw Viking-rock emanating from those shores? I have absolutely no idea but Greybeards will rape and pillage through the UK in May in support of Bonafide – aside from putting on a great show, they might even burn a goat for you. ***1/2
Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw
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