AN NCS EP PREMIERE: BOB MALMSTRÖM — “LÄNGE LEVE”
We welcome the return of Bob Malmström to our putrid site! It may be April Fool’s Day, but that’s no joke. They really do have a new EP ready for release on April 5th (the name of which is Länge Leve) and we really do have a complete stream of it to share with you today.
Now, I do realize that, instead of applauding, the first reaction of many of you will be “Bob who?” After all, a long three years have passed since we last devoted attention to the band. But they are hardly newcomers to NCS, even though their music isn’t always right in our wheelhouse. In fact, hosting today’s premiere is something of a reunion, like the visit of cousins you haven’t seen in a long time, who set your house on fire the last time they came around.
The first time I encountered these Swedish-speaking Finns was way back in December 2011 (here) after catching their official music video for a song called “Eliten”, which was a kind of searing, headbanging, thrash/hardcore/punk onslaught, as rendered by a bunch of dudes in suits sipping champagne. The second time was in April 2013 (here) when the subject was a lyric video for the title track from their album Punkens framtid (whose cover photo made an indelible impression), which rocked so hard it nearly knocked me flat, though I somehow kept my feet despite bouncing around in a solo mosh pit of my own making.
Two years passed, and then the band’s video for a cover song off their Kejsarsnitt 7″ single arrested our attention (here), and not just because it included a lot of coke, whiskey, boobs, more coke, and hilarious English subtitles. Vastly improving the original pop song they chose to cover, the band delivered a short, sharp, snarling blast that was calculated to rock your reproductive organs off. And then another year after that we ourselves had the insidious pleasure of premiering (here) another Bob Malmström video, for a song from their new album Vi kommer i krig (We Come In War).
And that brings us up to date, at least regarding our own attention to the true originators and crowned kings of borgarcore, who have taken delight since 2010 in jabbing their fingers into the eyes of standard “against the system” punk mentality by celebrating the benefits of Dom Perignon, lap dances by pretty girls, fast cars that can be run by you instead of over you, and favorable swings in the stock markets.
With that hopefully-not-too-tedious introduction behind us, let’s turn to the new EP, Länge Leve, which is the opposite of tedious. And here I’m going to borrow frequently from Bob Malmström‘s own explanations of what they’ve done, because in addition to turning their punk irreverence in unusual directions, the band have a sense of humor (they don’t take themselves too seriously, and they don’t take you too seriously either).
In their words: “The EP kicks off with a beautiful traditional Finnish-Swedish song performed by Runebergskören BSB, a local male choir from the coastal town of Borgå. The introduction is designed to tap into a new listener segment; the 50+ market. The theme of ‘Modersmålets sång‘ is also perfect to cement the emphasis of the identity building ethos of ‘Finlandssvenska’ Bob Malmström are known for. As the copyrights for the song have expired, it is also a sound financial decision.”
There is a dignified, even regal, air about this performance, which is indeed beautiful, but also a bit of a head-fake, given what will occur in the next song. But before we get to that, let’s turn to the other end of the EP, which is an Irish folk-inspired version of the band’s song “Skål“, which first surfaced in 2011. They explain:
“The clean singing, Anette Grevberg‘s violin, mellow fox comp bass, mandoline, acoustic guitars and a carneval of percussions are building blocks of this festive experience. This type of musical approach has helped sell millions of albums and is a natural choice for Bob Malmström as well.”
As sure-fire toe-tappers go, this rendition of “Skål” is sure-fire, and boisterous in its own way, albeit not as raucous as the original (performed live in this video).
In between those bookends are four other compact songs. Per the band: “The rest of the tracks are more or less what Bob Malmström have become known for, laden with ‘woo-ooh:s’ that helped Bad Religion become huge in the 1900’s, anthemic metal epics that would make Amon Amarth blush and hectic frenzy designed for the restless human of 2019. Teemu Aalto, known for his work with Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum, is responsible for the production. The R&D department gives Länge leve Bob Malmström a 99,995% change of moderate to heavy success.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the band, the EP opener ‘Modersmålets sång‘ won’t prepare you for the wild amalgam of punk, metal, and folk sounds in these four romping tracks, which are all highly infectious and all explosively vibrant. You will have opportunities to swing and whirl, to careen uncontrollably about your mental headspace, and to be bludgeoned without mercy. The choir in the opener might also blanch at the scalding effect of the raw, throat-shredding vocals and the brazen gang yells, but surely you will enjoy them.
All together, the six tracks on the EP make for an unpredictable experience, and one that’s a hell of a lot of fun. And you can blast it straight through in less time than it took you to read all these (not tedious!) words.
As you enjoy Länge Leve, don’t forget that it will be released by Elitbolaget on April 5th and is available for pre-order now in a variety of formats. We turn again to the band:
“The EP is the epitome of digital age formats and suits even the high-paced modern Spotify-user. As physical format sales are in a rapid downward spiral the R&D department chose the next hit format; C-cassette. In today’s hyper-globalization environment this is a unique ‘Made in Finland’ package to suit even the pickiest vintage crafts appreciators. The limited pressing can be bought in advance from Recordshop-X (ships globally).”