Sweden’s legendary prog/pscyh band returns with their seventh album (and first in thirty years!) Centered around guitar virtuoso, Kenny Håkansson (ex-Baby Grandmothers, Mecki Mark Men, but not to be confused with The Hellacopters’ bassist of the same name), the sextet is named after the highest mountain in Sweden, and have been euphemistically praised as “the highest band in Sweden.” Our trip begins with the jolly hippie jig, “Leksands Skänklåt,” which is built around a catchy little riff featuring an intricate duet between Håkansson and violinist, Mats Glenngård.
Unfortunately, the track annotations and liner notes are in Swedish, so background info on the songs is unavailable to non-natives. However, I can tell you that six of the eight tracks include variations of the words “polska” and “marsch” (e.g., “Polska från Alfta,” “Brudmarsch till Per & Anna,” “Farmors brudpolska”) and these are traditional dances (or marches) in Swedish folkmusik, and the band’s sound has been described as “electrified Swedish folk/fiddler music with psychedelic overtones.” One thing is for certain, tracks like the aforementioned “Polska från Alfta” will make your feet spin as much as your head, especially after Glenngård works himself into a feverish frenzy. Once the band, which features two bassists and a conga player, slide into their improvisational jams, comparisons with my favorite Swedish psych band, The Spacious Mind are warranted and well-earned.
“Brudmarsch till Per & Anna” is built around such an infectious melody carried by Glenngård’s violin, that you can’t help but nodding your head and tapping your feet along. This one in particular has the aroma of the British Isles wafting through it, with the air of an Irish jig or a Scottish reel. So we highly recommend you check this out – and don’t worry about the song titles, there’s no lyrics to fumble with anyway, so just let the music envelop you and get you up on your feet. As the band announces, “it is time for the troll dance again!” And if you opt for the vinyl version, there’s an amazing cover illustration that reveals hidden images the deeper you examine it, and isn’t that what great music and packaging used to be all about back in the glorious days of vinyl? 9/10 -- Jeff Penczak (18 March, 2009)