The Soundtrack of Our Lives "Origins Vol. 1"
?Vol. II? might have been more accurate, as this sweaty Swedish sextet follow up my favorite album from 2002, ?Behind the Music? (which explored their 60?s psychedelic origins and hence I?m suggesting was the real Vol. I!) with this thinly veiled tribute to their 70?s arena rock forefathers. But before we burst headstrong into that daring decade of debauchery, check out album openers ?Believe I?ve Found,? a spot-on Cracker impersonation that beats the pants off anything that band has released in the last ten years, and the full-throttled power-chord riffing of ?Transcendental Suicide,? which rips a page out of the Pete Townshend songbook, chews it up and spits it back with anthemic, fist-pumping assurance to rival the best 80?s hairbands, from Poison and Enuff Z?nuff to Bon Jovi and Def Leppard.
But then the real flashback begins, as ?Bigtime,? with all its cock rock trimmings, a la Nazareth, AC/DC, Foreigner, et. al. and the punchy, punky shoutalong ?Mother One Track Mind? cement their infatuation with the arena rockers we all grew up on. It?s both 30 years too late and not a moment too soon. We need musicians who don?t give a crap how anachronistic their sound is, as long as they?re having a ton of fun making it. After all, isn?t that what we bought all those Aerosmith, Peter Frampton, and Van Halen albums for? And while the originals have long ago lost the plot and become mere shells of their former beings in order to secure more sales and higher MTV approval ratings, the Soundtracks haven?t forgotten the formula that made these artists so attractive to begin with, and ?Origin Vol. 1? is a rousing return to basics. Of course, this has all been done before, most famously by Spinal Tap and Primal Scream, particularly on the latter?s homage to ?Exile On Main Street,? ?Give Out But Don?t Give Up,? but the Soundtracks? authentic recreation of the era is reverential, rather than satirical.
The second half of the album loses this initial adrenaline rush, mainly due to several misplaced and eminently forgettable ballads (?Midnight Children,? ?Lone Summer Dream? and ?Song for the Others?), but the throat-shredding screamer, ?Royal Explosion (Part II)? (which had me roaming through their discography looking for the first part - I think it?s on the vinyl version) and the AM-radio friendly ?Borderline? (NOT the Madonna song) will put those minor quibbles out to pasture. So slip into those spandex pants you?re hiding in the back of your closet, break out the self-perm kits and hairspray and relive the heyday of 70?s anthemic arena schlock rock. 7/10 -- Jeff Penczak (25 May, 2005)