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This Is Head – 0001

on April 09, 2010, 8:00am

This Is Head has already been praised as one of the best debuting bands on the Swedish indie scene this year, and I can see why. It’s quite rare that a Swedish band carries its non-Swedish influences so visibly on its sleeve. It creates an international feel, something beyond our own secluded pop universe.

0001 is easily one of the nerdiest albums you’re likely to hear in your lifetime. It consists of eight tightly crafted tracks, all simply referred to by number according to the order in which they were recorded. Enthusiasts of Swedish indie will say it sounds like the album came straight out of Studio’s studio. It’s true; it does have that pinch of vintage filter, which is why it’s easy to understand why Studio’s Dan Lissvik remixed the single “0002”. It’s less easy to understand why they would want to release a single at all, because pop this ain’t.

This is the ultimate result of locking in a group of stiff, not very young but still not old, nerdy musicians in a studio full of instruments. It sounds like the band has stared itself blind on notes and rhythm schemes or, alternatively, jammed hour after hour until a song started presenting itself progressively. The clear krautrock influences come in handy and fit nicely… after the band has forced the puzzle pieces together, blending the stubborn post-WW2 German experimental rock form with urban balearic disco and U2. Re-tag second track “0007”, where the Bono-esque vocals and The Edge-like guitars make up for the most obvious theft of the album, call it a demo, and you’re ready to start a fake track circus around the internet. Oddly enough, it’s a highlight, despite featuring pretty lame lyrics on a largely instrumental album.

If the band is headstrong enough to carry out the promise their four-digit song titles deliver, I’d have no problem and nothing against seeing them make thousands of ready-made museum pieces like the eight ones 0001 sports. Chances are big they’ll grow, expand their horizons, and come up with something fantastic and truly engaging instead of something merely interesting, something measuring up to at least half of their grand sources of inspiration: Kraftwerk, Can, U2 and Studio. However, there’s only so many years you can walk this earth, so they’d better speed up. As for the listeners, we probably wouldn’t mind if they churned out a plethora of albums from 0001 up to 9999. Eight tracks each, you do the math. Albums like 0001 may be hopelessly lost in the record collection from which they sprouted, but they are fairly easy-going, cheerful listens, and charmingly nerdy in times when things have to be hip for real or utterly authentic. And if Swedish critics want to jump out of their skins for that, well, then that probably says more about the state of music criticism in Sweden than 0001.

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