In recent years my life has taken a number of turns towards Nordic/Scandanavian culture, be it through books, films, tv shows or music. There is something about the countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway which appeals to me for a myriad reasons. Therefore, it's no major surprise that Sweden's Dalaplan have produced an album which stands up amongst some of the best cultural experiences I have encountered from that part of the world and which deserves to be heard by those discerning music fans including those who can see past a band that doesn't sing in English.
On the back of a fistful of 7-inch singles, this album is the band's first foray into the world of longer-length releases, which can sometimes highlight a lack of suitable material once you get into double digits in terms of the number of tracks included. Even on first listen though, it is obvious that Dalaplan have no such problem in that department, as the band cranks out a highly infectious rock 'n' roll brew that takes its lead from a number of decades with consumate ease. There are clearly influences that come all the way from the 1960s with some songs that are driven by some wonderful, warm keyboards (a bit Doors-like in places), some taking a bit more from the 1970s in creating a big rock sound, whilst all this is beefed up by an indie/new wave/punk feel from start to finish.
The best way for me to describe Dalaplan and this album is to say that it's nigh on impossible to remain still when listening to this. I don't generally dance (ok, there was that one night when Jack Terricloth of World/Inferno Friendship Society and I tripped the light fantastic together but that's another story) although there are times at gigs when I do the pushing and shoving stuff if I have been drinking and the music is energizing and exciting as well as being quite sensuous too. However, this is a band that, through the fourteen songs on the album leads me to believe that live they would have to be seen with a partner -- known or unknown, it wouldn't matter, but I get the sense that one would be best suited by having someone to move around with as a pair, throughout the time changes, the variation of pace and the warming groove that the keyboards give these songs.
I have no idea of what the lyrics are about but have imagined a number of songs being about the most ridiculous things, an approach that makes me grin and enjoy the record even more. Ok, if I were to find out that the band were espousing dubious views on a handful of certain topics I'm sure I'd amend my opinion of them, but until then I'll continue thinking that "Tre Ton Tung" is about the difficulties of opening a tin of beans without a tin opener whilst wearing a catcher's mit,t and "Snubblar Fram" is based around philosophical discussions had with Kermit the Frog halfway up the stairs during a particularly raucous party.
This is a fun and invigorating record, and one which will hopefully pave the way for Dalaplan to become a household name.
Nordic Fact: Dalaplan singer and guitarist, Niklas Svensson has the same name as a character out of the second series (as we call them here in the UK) of the excellent Swedish/Danish television program, The Bridge. Not even my wife was impressed by this minor piece of information so I could be in a minority of one here!