Perhaps part of the explanation lies in the fact that they travel to record at new locations. They recorded many "Röd" songs in Berlin's Hansa Tonstudios and its Meistersaal. Here, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Depeche Mode have recorded classic albums.
"Röd" moves on from 2007's "Tillbaka till samtiden" by further refining their electronic style, combining breathtaking guitars with synthesizers and dance beats. And as always, this is done while still retaining the Kent style, with the very distinctive vocals of Joakim Berg. He sings in his very unique way about the world around him, his country Sweden, about love and loss; lyrics like beautiful poetry.
I think "Röd" is quite a bit better than their previous effort, which feels a bit disjointed at times. However, I still hold "Du och jag döden" as Kent's masterpiece, and "Röd" does not reach quite the same heights.
They have one of their best singles ever in "Töntarna", the most electronic track on here, where guitars are only a distant memory. They are there, but filtered and manipulated into oblivion, on top of an almost Eric Prydz-style compressed beat. The track is quite groovy, as is many tracks on "Röd", and the chorus is a contagion of swine flu proportions.
The first song on the album is a bit of an odd piece. It's a choral number called "18:29 -4" sung by the choir "Tonalerna" and featuring organ by Martin Sköld. This weird introduction soon kicks off the swirling synthesizers of "Taxmannen". The first couple of songs on the album have taken me a while to process, and they still don't feel quite up there with the rest, but they're growing on me. For me, the album starts off proper with "Hjärta", a beautiful and immensely powerful number where Joakim's voice shimmers over acoustic and electric guitars, washes of percussion and percolating electronic bleeps. Sublime.
Other highlights are "Sjukhus", an all out action filled pop track - at least after three atmospheric minutes of buildup, "Svarta linjer", a monotone but intriguing composition that builds and builds towards the crescendo at the end. "Ensamheten" features the closest Kent has ever come to an EBM bass line, and the last couple of minutes of this track are an absolutely fantastic display of power. Of course the album finale is stunning as usual. "Det finns inga ord" is a fitting continuation of this Kent tradition; a slower but powerful huge arena piece with eighties style big drums, clanging guitars and a simply massive finish.
"Röd" has its ups and downs, but with a heavy leaning towards up. Kent has already established themselves as something unique in Sweden's musical world, and Kent as of 2009 just re-affirms that. Brilliant.