Swedish alternative rock kings Kent have always been famous for their good B-sides, so even a worst case scenario would be quite alright when they release their "The hjärta & smärta EP" ("The Love and Pain EP", literally "The Heart and Pain EP").
The result is somewhere between heaven and hell. First track "Vi mot världen" ("Us against the world") is a low tempo, almost goth rock Kent song that could have been included on the latest album "Du & jag döden", "Paris/Flen" echoes the bass line of single "Max 500" and "Månadens erbjudande" is a typical Kent ballad that sounds like a track from either "Hagnesta Hill" or "Vapen & ammunition". Quality and cool lyrics about feeling like outsiders, love, loss and the stupid things love makes us do? Yes, and thus three new sing-along songs for Kent fans everywhere. But songs that map out new paths and musical worlds to explore? No.
The Bonnie and Clyde-themed ballad "Ansgar and Evylene", on the other hand, is the most gripping and longing love song from Kent since "Duett" on "Vapen & ammunition" and pushes the EP up a couple of notches. And then the remaining song "Dom som försvann" ("The ones who disappeared") pushes it over the limit, to the kind of record you – if you are a Kent fan – will play again and again. That is, if you can stand the children’s choir that answers Jocke Berg in the chorus, with more and more venom, singing (in Swedish) "You scare us. You need help. Your god damn whining makes me sick". This is really, really funny and ironic and creates a dynamic and a tension unsurpassed in Kent’s discography this far. Kent with dark humour, not only in their album cover ("Du & jag döden"), but also in their music? Hell yes.
All in all, "The hjärta & smärta EP" is a sign that Kent is still growing as a band, with something for all kinds of fans – even for the ones that think that Jocke Berg is a tad bit too whining from time to time.