Release Date: Mar 3, 2009
Record label: Yep Roc
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
Issuing a double album in the 21st century, with increasing industry focus on single tracks and ring tones, seems crazy at best, pretentious at worst. Communion, the fifth album by Gothenburg, Sweden's rock sextet the Soundtrack of Our Lives, proves that assertion to be dead wrong. This band has stubbornly followed an inner sense of direction that embraces paradox while using the very best of what rock & roll has to offer in order to create powerful music.
It takes some balls to release a double album in this day and age, when most acts can barely muster the resources for a single disc. Then again, when you're a moderately successful but still mostly under the radar Swedish rock act with fondness for bands that made excess a big part of their art, perhaps it's more of a mystery why you don't release double-albums more often. Indeed, the well of maximum R&B from which the Soundtrack of Our Lives draw will never run dry.
Back in 2002, The Soundtrack of Our Lives were very nearly the “next big thing.” They were hotly tipped by the music press, endorsed by Noel Gallagher (they toured the USA with Oasis) and were Grammy-nominated for their album, Behind the Music. Unfortunately for them, the breakthrough alternative acts from that year were either grunge revivalists (The Vines), arty and with self-conscious cool to spare (The Strokes) or served up their rock drenched in blues (The White Stripes, Kings of Leon). The Soundtrack of Our Lives joined that all-too-long list of bands who didn‘t convert media attention and hype into popularity and sales.They’ve been plugging away ever since though, and after abandoning their Origin Vol.
I don't understand why, unless you're Pink Floyd or you want to make a quick buck off a bunch of B-sides, you'd write a double disc. It's nearly impossible to release two records of all-fantastic material. Swedish garage rockers Soundtrack of Our Lives are the latest act to cram 24 songs into a two-disc collection, and they've taken the familiar one-disc-loud, one-quieter approach (though they mix tempos a lot more than the Foo Fighters' In Your Honor).
Like many of their contemporary Swedish brethren, the Soundtrack of Our Lives are old-school dudes. Their American breakthrough album, Behind the Music (2002), bubbled over with Stonesy riffs, Pink Floydian atmosphere, and direct lifts from the Beatles’ recording playbook. They haven’t found a way to newly contextualize these touchstones so much as they’ve learned to live within them—they just weren’t made for these times, I guess, or perhaps the times are meant to indulge them their guardianship of classic rock’s bloodline.
Things never quite happened for TSOL in the way they did for fellow Swedish retro-rockers the Hives. Nevertheless, no longer on a major label, they have hoisted the proverbial finger to marketing strategies and trends by delivering a 24-track magnum opus steeped in classic rock and bonkers concepts about, uh, communication, man. Lasting longer than the Who's Quadrophenia or indeed a Premiership football match, Communion is full of epic riff-crunchers, the Who and Traffic, and lyrics about brain police and castles made of air.