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  • David Bentley

Otinget (Sweden) – ‘The Greatest Thing That Never Happened (single from forthcoming album)

They bill themselves as ‘The Greatest Thing That Never Happened’, which I thought a tad presumptuous but to be fair to this Swedish trio whose band “was born in an abandoned industrial building on the outskirts of Stockholm,” on the strength if this debut track from a forthcoming album if they can keep this standard up they will be making waves, and not only on their local industrial estate.

The story is that Victor Alneng (bass) and Tomas Eriksson (drums), both of whom have form in other bands, joined up with Erik Nilsson, who knew Alneng from university, on guitar and later vocals, and together “they discovered a synergy worth exploring further”. This particular track, as well as a couple of others, also features Reine Fiske, lead guitarist from the band Dungen.

And it is the interplay between those guitars which first caught my attention. It’s a little slow to get going; its sounds like they’re warming up before Nilsson’s calm, psychoanalyst-like vocal cuts in. And It’s four minutes into the six minute track before the tempo shifts up a gear but when it does, and right through to its barnstorming conclusion, wallow in that duelling guitar work (and yes, the bass and drums as well), which takes me back to the extravaganzas of the much-missed psych/prog band Trembling Bells.

Considering English isn’t their native language there are some pretty sharp lyrics in here as well. I’m not entirely sure what it is about but the opening sections suggests a sort of mirror image of Emmy the Great’s ‘First Love’, a song I often mention but it’s one of the best stories-in-a-song you’ll ever hear, with a slow build up over five minutes, described with exquisite lyricism, to the overwhelming rapture of mutual coital climax.

The non-event here suggests quite the opposite: a damp squib, a broken pencil point, a deflating balloon, a chain saw that won’t start, a flopping flag with no breeze and all the other visual ‘stimuli’ of the Numan‘erectile dysfunction’ TV advert. A headache, perhaps.

“Then one dark night, around 3am, they escaped the narrative prepared for them/And it was the greatest thing that never happened”

Of course I may be completely wrong with this interpretation but I’m always up for songs that have me guessing like this, if you’ll pardon the pun. I can’t wait for the album (17th September release on the Australian label Hidden Shoal).

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