Moneybrother - Real Control (Cover Artwork)


Real Control (2009)


There are few things worse than a ripoff band. In this modern era of music, we are bombarded with the superficial sounds of two-bit copy cats. Owl City is just a shitty corporate version of the Postal Service and Neon Trees is just a shitty Mormon version of the Strokes. I understand that old music influences new music, but phony studio musicians being thrown together by marketing executives is not real music. Moneybrother, despite his obvious influences, is miles away from anything resembling a ripoff band.

Hailing from the musically outstanding Kingdom of Sweden, Moneybrother is a one-man wonder band. While well known in his native land, Moneybrother is relatively unknown in the United States. His sixth studio album, Real Control, is barely being recognized Stateside.

If Real Control is your first exposure to Moneybrother, brace yourself for a soulful trip down memory lane. The opening notes of "Born Under a Bad Sign" sound strikingly familiar–not in a ripoff kind of way, but in a warm, welcoming way. Like knowing someone is going to be your best friend the moment you meet them. The song rocks like the Clash teaming up with ABBA for some jangly dance moves.

There is no denying that Anders Wendin (the voice, brain and fingers of Moneybrother) is channeling the prematurely departed Joe Strummer. His raspy croon is a spot-on nod to Strummer's pipes. But at no point does it come across as forced imitation; it works just as well as it did in 1977 for Strummer and it sounds just as urgent today from Wendin.

The rest of the alum seems to play out like a mash-up of two rival records: the Clash's Sandinista! and Bruce Springsteen's The River. Maybe the reggae and dub influences of the Clash's three-disc opus are toned down a bit for Real Control, but the seamless flow from punk to rock to disco to waltz is just as ambitious as anything that "the only band that matters" would have attempted.

Songs like "Just Another Part of Me That Breaks Down" obviously owe lots to the Clash, but there is no denying the songwriting genius throughout the whole album. The record is high-energy from start to finish, but the highlight comes towards the end with the charming "6am". The song sounds exactly like a wedding waltz if the E Street Band was playing your wedding. The boisterous gang shouts of "You and me, / we won't be going nowhere. / You and me, / we got everything we need right here!" make sure that the song isn't too easygoing.

Sure, comparisons to other acts are plentiful in Moneybrother's sound, but there's no denying the fundamental originality of his approach and execution. It's too bad that he isn't better known in the States. Hopefully all the young punks will catch on to this old-soul punk rock sound by the time album seven comes around.