Album: Behind The Music
. . .
One of my favorite bands of the 21st century that nobody has heard of, The Soundtrack of Our Lives were formed in Sweden in 1995 with the admirable goal of trying to play every single form of rock ‘n’ roll in every single song, which is only a slight exaggeration. The resultant stew could have been a mess — and it sometimes was — but at their best, they made a big psychedelic noise that reminded me of a less cynical, more joyful Oasis.
After releasing two fine Europe-only albums in the 1990s — 1996’s Welcome to The Infant Freebase and 1998’s Extended Revelation for the Psychic Weaklings of Western Civilization — they came into their own with 2001’s Behind The Music, the first of their records to get a release here in the U.S., though not until 2002.
And as an introduction to their many charms, you couldn’t do much better than “Sister Surround,” easily the highlight of Behind The Music.
“Sister Surround” opens with drummer Fredrik Sandsten laying down a big-ass beat with bassist Åke Karl Kalle Gustafsson rumbling right alongside him. They’re soon joined by guitarist Ian Person, who lays down an instantly catchy three-note hook in one speaker while guitarist (and co-writer) Mattias Bärjed dials up some Townshend-sized power chords. Once the musical barrage has been established, vocalist (and co-writer) Ebbot Lundberg starts singing.
You’re a rhyme without a reason
And you know it so well
Who’s the king of the season
Well you never can tell
Though it’s so plain to see
You think you like to be normal
You think you’re in control
But the action you take only makes you small
Just like the way it should be
So far so good, but it’s on the chorus where things get interesting. First off, there’s a call-and-response going on between Lundberg and the rest of the band who are softly singing “surrrround” throughout the chorus.
Sister, take care of me
Sister, take care of me
Even better, after each time Lundberg sings “take care of me,” Bärjed throws out a guitar hook so instantly catchy that you can sing along if you want.
And so after the second chorus, that’s exactly what happens.
First, Lundberg extends it with:
Cause I’m not afraid to fall
No I’m not afraid to fall
I’m not afraid at all
And then, as drummer Sandsten pounds out a double-time, they all start singing Bärjed’s guitar hook: “doo-doo doo-doo-doo-doot doo-doo doo-doo-doo-doot doo-doo doo-doo-doo-doot doo-doo doo-doo-doo-doot”
And it is utterly sublime. That hook basically dominates the rest of the song, and the first time I heard it, I fell in love with it, and even now, over two decades later, it still basically rules.
“Sister Surround” US Video
“Sister Surround” European Video
“Sister Surround” Live on Letterman, 2002
“Sister Surround” live on Later with Jools Holland, 2002
“Sister Surround” Live in Spain, 2010
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