SILENCE RELEASE: DECEMBER 23, 2003 REVIEW: JANUARY 6,
hund’s oddball, off-kilter energy has always felt like a much needed
force in the Swedish “indie” climate, especially as a freaky
counterpoint against middle of the road bores like Kent (did I just swear
in church?). With inspiration culled from bands like Kraftwerk, Pere Ubu
and the great Captain Beefheart, they have in their best moments felt
somewhat like a Swedish Devo.
Bergman Rock is bob hund’s English-language alter ego, and the name
has been tossed around for a few years now. Rather than just re-recording
selected bits of their back catalogue in English, bob hund have chosen
to see Bergman Rock as an entirely new band with songs of its own. The
elements making Bergman Rock up are familiar, though. The same idiosyncratic
view of music and the world is on display here as in bob hund. But still
it feels like a few pieces of the puzzle have gone missing. Bergman Rock
sound comparatively muted, even lifeless. bob hund don’t always
convince me, but at least they never bore me. In their best moments they’re
an explosion of a dozen contradictory emotions, set to the sound of shards
of a dozen contradictory bands. In a few places Bergman Rock rather sound,
at least moodwise, like they’re revisiting the murkiest, most unpleasant
corners of postpunk, the corners that weren’t revived even in the
big retro-year 2003, and hopefully won’t be in 2004 either.
The transition to English hasn’t gone too smoothly either. I can
take the Swedish accent, but not the fact that the language seems to be
a barrier that keeps singer Thomas Öberg from reaching the listener.
The lyrics neither penetrate nor stick. A very bland effort from a band
that have always been everything but.