4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Sweden's Finest Musical Export,
This review is from: Origin Vol. I (Audio CD)
I first encountered The Soundtrack Of Our Lives through their superb single 'Sister Surround'. Taken from this album's predecessor, Behind The Music (2001), it set a standard that I thought it would be impossible to match over the course of a whole album. However, not only did other songs on the album match it, the whole record was richly melodic pop/rock of the highest standard.
So now comes the follow up, (although I'm only familiar with these two albums, this is apparently their fourth), and, I'm delighted to say, it's every bit as good as Behind The Music. In an age when guitar music is largely dominated by dreary and earnest bands like Razorlight, Coldplay and Snow Patrol, it's gratifying to find an album made by a band that sound like they really enjoy what they do and who, when they get it right, are capable of something really special. And, on songs like 'Transcendental Suicide' and 'Bigtime', they get it very right.
As a whole, this album probably rocks rather more than Behind The Music, but it manages to successfully fuse quality pop melodies to rock dynamics. And no-one else these days seems to use power chords and sweet key changes like The Soundtrack Of Our Lives.
Nothing on this album is really very daring or original (I'm sure the band themselves would agree), but the sheer quality of the material carries it off. There are things here that have been done dozens of times before, but they're done with such style and conviction that they still seem utterly fresh. Whether it's the gentle melancholia of 'Song For The Others', the squally Hivesian racket of 'Mother One Track Mind', the almost Divine Comedy-esque 'Long Summer Dream', or the practically picture perfect rock of 'Age Of No Reply', this is great music being made by a really great band. If Noel Gallagher were capable of writing (or playing, for that matter) music as good as this, then Oasis would never have become the pathetic joke they have been for the last eight or nine years, but would instead still be turning out vigorous, life affirming tunes like these.
It's high praise indeed to suggest it, but even taking Abba into account, I'd say The Soundtrack Of Our Lives are the best band ever to come out of Sweden. Treat yourself; buy this album for the melodies, the arrangements, the great touches, or just because you like great music. But make sure you discover how good this band is for yourself.