I’m fascinated by the notion of influences and inspirations, especially when they’re mashed up and twisted by geographical and cultural differences. Listening to any The Soundtrack Of Our Lives album conjures up bits from the historical nature of rock n roll—how it was served like a flaming tennis ball across the pond to Britain by Chuck Berry, volleyed back by the Rolling Stones and returned again by Otis Redding.
Often they cram the entire playlist of a classic rock station into one song, other times appropriating (doppelganger-style) a signature sound, as in the Doors’ knockoff “Age of No Reply” from Origin, Vol. 1.
For some reason, and much like their fellow Swedes the Hellacopters, it works. It must be the earnestness and reverences they employ. American bands who try this approach end up sounding like Matchbox 20, or are Matchbox 20. Communion, the new T.S.O.O.L album continues this trend. The album, however, does not hew to serious indie sensibility nor will it receive much critical love. It is fun, though, and well crafted. Songs like “Flipside” finds relation to the Who’s “Goin’ Mobile” while “Fly” gets all Mamas and Papas.
One could argue that the double album approach includes too much filler. True, Communion does have its share of ballad-y cheese, but I prefer to view it from a the standpoint of jazz musicians who use space and silence—the cheddar numbers with their drops in tempo enable a bigger impact in the the rock songs.
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RA 88 from Communion:
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Flipside from Communion:
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Age of No Reply from Origin, Vol. 1:
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Infa Riot from Behind the Music:
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Her Strut – the Hellacopters