Quantum Leap – The Other Side (track from recently released album)
“They’re coming to get you, Barbara” is a line from seminal 1968 George Romero black and white zombie horror movie ‘Night of the Living Dead’. Then it cropped up again in the 2004 British spoof film ‘Shaun of the Dead’ as “we’re coming to get, you Barbara”, she being the mother of the lead character.
That little tour of the horror movie world was simply to cast some light the opening and spoken line here but it does pose the question to the Man on the Clapham Omnibus as to whether this is a serious, dystopian song about the ‘climate threat’ and the current political and democratic collapse around the world, and one which references viruses and pandemics along the way for good measure, or whether it is a send up. It does after all have a distinctive zombie ‘theme’ to it.
I’ll give Quantum Leap the benefit of any doubt but in any case what really matters is that the song rattles along at one heck of a pace, with a bass line guaranteed to zap any zombie better than any amount of decapitation (apparently that’s how you do it).
There’s an interesting line early on which makes me wonder when the song was written because it does suggest that the band is up to speed on current affairs. “No-one bothers when a million die”. That’s the current corona death toll worldwide.
What surprises me is that it’s short, at just two minutes 31 seconds; it could have gone on for another 30 seconds at least. When the bridge comes in, with a slow two-chord progression straight out of Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids in America’ (except that there are three in that) it’s ¾ of the way through already and doesn’t really pick up again until its reaches the other side.
Sweden is renowned for its heavy rock and metal tradition so where does Quantum Leap sit in all this?
They’re out of Uppsala, Sweden’s fourth largest city, north of Stockholm and were formed in 2016 by Björn Norberg (lead vocals and guitar), Andreas Hennius (bass) and Mats Gustavsson (drums). Those members come from disparate genres including pop, indie, electronica, punk, thrash metal and black metal. In their time they’ve been compared to – prepare yourself for this - Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, Kate Bush, Ultravox, Blondie, Steppenwolf – and Chicago (!).
Latterly they mix up garage rock and post-punk, a nice generic categorisation for this song and one which equally applies to their debut album ‘No Reason’ (2018) though this latest album is reported to be darker in tone.
‘Alien Planet’ the album from which this track is taken, is their second, produced by Tomas Skogsberg, who has worked with many bands including The Hellacopters and features a guest star, Tina Gunnarsson, the lead singer of the Swedish metal band Hexed, although not on this track. As a side note I checked out Hexed and Gunnarsson has a great, belting voice. Where do the metal bands find them?
This album also includes experiments with gothic post-punk, pop-punk and an arena rock anthem, as well as the Bowie-like ‘The Beauty in Dying Alone’.
In short it’s genre-defying but as we’re just reviewing one track here I should mention that ‘The Other Side’ ends with another pleasant dream-denying line from ‘Night of the Living Dead’ – “Are they slow-moving, Chief?” “Yeah, they’re dead; they’re…all messed up”.
Don’t have nightmares.
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