Santa was particularly generous this year, and not only brought me a trail version of my favourite running shoes, but a particularly special item - a replacement for my disheveled Bob Hund T-shirt. And Swedish band Blod seem like the kind of band who have their share of tatty Bob Dog merchandise hidden away in wardrobes too, certainly if new album Sjukvård och byggnader is anything to go by.
I first wrote about them back in 2017 when they released their excellent debut single (and video, if I remember) entitled 'Som Kristall', and since then they’ve released a few more, as well as an EP entitled ‘Oket’ in 2018. If I have to describe them then I guess they bridge the musical gap between dream pop and post punk, plus a mix of a fair few indie, progressive and even post rock bands too.
Now this is another release which I can’t fully do justice to given the lyrics are in Swedish, but I’ll suggest some highlights. For me they're a band at their best when they really crank up the noise. Pre-album release single Seinfeld has a really intense post punk section which reminds me a little of Pom Poko, whilst ‘Sikta mot stjärnor’ mixes in Krautrock influences before offering a melodic vocal line that transports the track away in another direction.
My favourite however is ‘Somna Nu‘, which really disappears so far leftfield it’s somewhere off the map, but stick with it and it builds into an instrumental anthem that provides a marvellous last 60 seconds of noise. ‘Arv och miljö‘ Is more straightforward indie pop song with, twangy guitar and tuneful vocals, but they conclude with the quite lovely 'Tomglassplitter', a dreamy song with shows that they can write subtle and more melodic songs when they need to.
I’ve referenced a few other bands as possible influences, but it is certainly true that this Blod album takes a lot more listening to than those I’ve mentioned, it's not packed full of expansive memorable melodies, and not helped either by my failure obviously to grasp the Swedish lyrical content.
But get under the surface of 'Sjukvård och byggnader' and you’ll find an album which is full of unconventional ideas, not afraid to challenge the listener, sometimes intense, quirky, with unusual song structures, with a really distinct sound too - and when it all comes together, such as in Somna Nu, they're pretty sensational. It may not be an obviously ‘stand out album’ but I really like what they’ve done, and they’re undoubtedly one of the more interesting bands on the Swedish indie scene.