There’s two men digging a grave, or could it be something else? I don’t really know, but the cover seems to be more on the cartoonish side when it comes to the letters. But then again, it seems to be somewhat poetic too. I like the flames over the “ä” and the black and white cover. There seems to be a lot of punk to this record, but at the same time melancholia. Maybe they’re digging some kind of grave to hide the goods they stole? After all, “Stora Stöten” means “The Big Hit“, as if they’d rob a bank or something. The vague shape of the two men digging is enough to instill some kind of noir feeling to it overall, with minimalistic hints here and there. Even though there’s an excess of white color, the colors blend together in a good way, it’s just that the edges seem a bit large to be honest. But maybe that was done on purpose, I don’t know.
1. Stora Stöten (0:41)
Let’s begin with the first song on this album, called Stora Stöten. I like the overall edginess to it and somewhat humorist touch that the singer’s add to it, it’s a melodic piece but at the same time shows hints of sophistication which is noticeable in the lyrics. Much poetry in this one, at least if you’d look to it lyrically. Opening with good potential, to make you sinister at heart and then possibly hit you with a dagger in your back – just for the fun side of it. The overall structure of the song might not be wonderfully complex, but it’s got that edgy blend of poetry, humor ism and basic punk-driven riffs, baseline and drums. Could this be the continuation of the genre called “trall-punk“? Maybe, maybe not. There’s at least some dimensions in this song that disqualify that statement, but maybe they’d qualify for the more artistic category of art-punk?
It sounds more in the vein of the more synth-driven post-punk band Ståålfågel, but without the synths. Known for their complex lyricism and interestingly dadaism which drove the music into the “interesting”-corner. Even though there’s a lack in the sound-scape at times, I believe it gets overshadowed by the intent of the song and the overall impression I had of this song was overtly good. Ingenious but at the same time genius, leaving me awed and waiting for a sworn era to return. Anyhow, it’s got such a vibrant atmosphere in the sound-scape that it’d make you go up and boogie your ass off, even though you’d know that pogo was the word. Planting in some irony amidst the seriousness and the catchy, fast riffing that goes on. It’s off to a great start and I’m hoping I’ll be even more surprised after the next song.
2. Der Totenfluss Styx (1:54)
Moving on to the second song, called Der Totenfluss Styx. It basically feels like a continuation of the first song, but this time the lyric-department is developed into a more abstract division. Some German words blended together with Swedish, with the chorus left to be as catchy as can be. I believe the witty lyrics and the contrast in between a darker and more deep voice and the singer’s almost nasally light-weighted (and sounding) voice actually fit together with each other and bring a multitude of enjoyable insights. Even though the silliness of it keeps me from taking it seriously, the more artsy passages keep me waiting for something unusual. There’s actually some passages that aren’t as predictable as the chorus, but I believe it’d be to remote for the majority if the chorus wasn’t there.
It surely makes the song more available for radio, than it would’ve been otherwise. However, I shouldn’t underestimate the catchiness of it, since it adds up to the dimension of the slumbering passages. Also, something that was somewhat sublime, is the sound-scapes altering at times for the more noise-driven enthusiast. A little bit more distortion can be felt in this song, which also gives me another kind of impression of these guys. It’s more noticeable on the vocals than in anything else, but I think it’s great in a sense that it brings to often unused dimensions closer. In the one hand, a well-crafted and grandiose sound-scape in a more compressed environment at times. With some hints of the minimalistic and primitive, but at times way out for me to comprehend. The slumbering passage almost sounds like someone that’s calling out to space, in hope of receiving some kind of transmission back. Indeed, “himlen läcker som ett såll“, which is agreeable here too. It actually means: “heaven is leaking like a sieve“.
3. En enkel till Krylbo (2:26)
So far, so good. It’s been an exciting trip on Side A, but we’re not finished with it yet. The third and last song is called: En enkel till Krylbo. This one’s a little bit slower, but it still manages to show off what Rättens Krater is all about. I think they’ve hit a different spot in this one, at least lyrically, where they’re singing about cocks. It interestingly enough has a whole other sound-scape, the baseline and riffing differentiates in a way that resembles post-punk much more than punk and art-punk in general. They’re also carrying the banner high for “könsrock“, sounding like a combination of Onkel Kånkels vulgar and sexual lyrics but at the same time keeping the seriousness and abstractness of Dom Dummaste.
What a wicked mix, though. I think this one is their strongest card when it comes to lyrics, but also when it comes to the music. There’s a whole other edge to this, which shows that they can be interdisciplinary in music but still keep the core intact. It can easily be said, this was a hell of a ride. The swaying tempos and the intriguing lyrical content keeps the boat more than afloat. If there’d be an equivalent to this, visually speaking, they’re flying with high-speed through the fog in the clouds. So far, it’s been great and also relaxing in one way or another. It goes to show that there’s much more out there and that there’s a lot of talent both going to waste and not going to waste, Rättens Krater fit in perfectly in the last category. They’re not afraid to sound silly and they’re not afraid to be different, which is the case today. Showing that they’re different but can blend in at the same time, is one of the major strengths that they’ve acquired. Also, balancing on the edge of a too refined sound-scape and a lo-fi monstrosity at times, keeping the monster at bay and reaping the sow completely. Good riddance.
4. Ikaros akterseglad (2:35)
Now it’s time for Side B, which is usually the bad side. Just kidding, it might be good for all I know. Starting off with a track called Ikaros akterseglad. Displaying the more noise-rock driven sound that was prevalent in the last track on Side A, but with more vigor and more distortion. The lyrical content is still eclectic, humorist and interesting to hear. Even though he doesn’t sing very well, it’s got that punky edge to it that you can’t mistake for anything else. This song breaks the ice from the insanity and the humor, combining the insanity with the humor. This is how I like my punk, a little bit more edgy and less predictable than the force-fed shite you’d usually get when searching the internet for newer punk-songs.
It’s got a force-field of distortion over it, some lo-fi sounding vibes and a crazy fight between the instruments – as they beat the shit out of each other and leave you imagining what it would be like to see this mayhem live. You can hear the well-produced sound beneath the scramble, like a perfect scrambled egg. With rough white (noise) edges around it and a perfect yellow that pulsates throughout, a little bit less melodic, but not too overtly melodic like in some of the other tracks. It becomes somewhat obvious that the B-side is the harder and less “commercially” viable side, but then again, both sides have shown to have great potential. I just hope that this potential continues throughout, and that I’ll get to see something new and groundbreaking. This one broke some new ground, using elements that could’ve stayed unused, but were used anyway in a rather unorthodox manner. Feeling the vibe through my body.
5. Nerverna* (1:04)
Come with me, to the next song on the B-side, titled: Nerverna*. The intro reminds me of some of the minimalistic synth, or actually, coldwave that have been released in the 80’s. Remove the synths, add an edge of noisy rock, garage and a lent hand from the post-punk domains. One of their slowest songs yet, very unmelodious at its heart but very short. Almost as if you’d incorporate as many elements as possible into a smaller segment, like a no-wave skit with every influence you could find. However, the explosiveness beneath the instruments in this song is really great and takes me to a whole other dimension. It reinforces the laziness in me to some degree but at the same time wants me to flail my arms to the left and the right.
As if I’d put on an old and crackly record and try to play it in a slower speed, that’s what it feels like. I recommend that you’d have your favorite beer to this one, it’s ultimate goodness accompanied with beverages. This song is one I’d save for the campfire or right before you’d go to bed. I’m also stunned by the lyrics, since I can’t figure out the deeper meaning in them, but they sound poetic. The placement of it is great too, since I’m the kind of person that likes variety at times. Even though I think they could develop this further, I’ve got to give them a pat on the back for trying. They’re doing it good, but there’s something missing in the mix that I can’t really point out. Hopefully they’ll recognize it themselves, but since this is their first release, it’s sure a fresh breeze in a desert of decay.
6. Det sista jubileets basun (2:20)
Okay, phew, we’ve made it this far… we’re right now at the last song. It’s titled: Det sista jubileets basun. If you thought the first couple of songs had some Onkel Kånkel in them, you’re going to be surprised with this one. Revive them, ship them over to the 21st century and re-make some of their songs. I’m pretty sure one of them would turn out in this manner, maybe a little more primitive and edgy, but certainly it would cope with some of the instrumentals shown off in this song. But in terms of seriousness in the sound-scape, Rättens Krater don’t fit the picture completely. The reverb on the singer’s voice and the distorted back-up singing also shows the potential that they’ve managed to utter in this particular segment and release. I think they’ve done a marvelous job and this song, with its chorus and overall melodic content is surely a fitting end for these rockers from the North.
One of the more unique acts I’ve heard for a while and I hope they keep on going, because it would be sad if they’d turn out like the one-hit wonders of the past. With that said, I hope they don’t delve to far into their own obscurity. The lyrical content is also one of the best Swedish lyrics I’ve had the pleasure of listening to and trying to figure out. It’s not a no-brainer, it’s complex and it seems like they’ve put most of their effort into that. The sound-scape is the second one, which they’ve focused a lot on too. Somewhere between the line, there’s some sloppiness, but I think it’s more a part of their image and sound than anything else. Strong, sturdy, humor, insanity, dadaism and everything in between – only brought up in a whole other setting and climate. Rock on, boys, I’ll see you in the future.
My final judgement: 4/5
(great for a first release)