Record review: Graveyard, "Hisingen Blues" (Nuclear Blast)


Yeah, 1969 is one of my favorite music years too. Listen to the white blues that rang out around then, and a feeling creeps under your skin like it would be perfectly appropriate to wake up and smoke a bomber and pour the first glug of Thunderbird into a jelly jar and play guitar and doodle on the back of your overdue gas bill and fall asleep in a few hours and wake up whenever and start all over again. All day, every day.

"Easy Rider" came out that year, and Cream was still jamming, and Alvin Lee cranked "I'm Going Home" at Woodstock, and Led Zeppelin dropped their first album, and Black Sabbath taped their first, and the fires of Peter Green, Rory Gallagher, Paul Butterfield, Canned Heat, Savoy Brown, Blodwyn Pig, Chicken Shack, Climax Blues Band and Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation were blazing bright.

The four slackers in Graveyard weren't born yet. But somewhere along the line they heard and understood, and the attitude of 1969 became entwined in their very souls. Being Swedes from Gothenberg, they gravitated toward the darker end of the spectrum. And being primalists, they eschewed 200 tracks of studio anality in favor of strapping on & turning up. They customized their vintage amps by dragging 'em behind the tour bus. They wore hippie togs onstage. And they did rock.

This Joakim Nilsson sings great. He screeches like he scratched his pubes bloody. He moans like his girlfriend left him for the assistant manager of the Stockholm Starbucks. He offers Lucifer a paw, yet complains when demons rack his dreams. He extends his abandoned vocalics with energetically elemental axwork. He is a musician.

As a band, Graveyard rock with a camaraderie reminiscent of infant Aerosmith, Axel Sjöberg bashing in jumpy communion with bassist Rikard Edlund and second guitarist Jonatan Larocca Ramm, who deserves membership for his name alone. They boogie, they mope, they slash, the blues never more than a spade's length away, throwing in occasional whoopee cushions -- stoked-up wah-wah, clonks of rhythm sticks, graveyard whistling -- with the same kind of random glee Ten Years After used to indulge. Shades of Wolfmother? I guess, but the Swedes mean it more.

Graveyard would be having fun if they weren't so depressed. But really, when you're rocking, how can you tell the difference?

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Watch the artily skewed black-and-white video for the title track here and the hilarious album trailer here.