Monday, 26 May 2014

Ebbot Lundberg: "The Homo Futurus E.P." and "Be Careful What You Wish For! The Embryonic Outtakes Phase 1"

"Yesterday was another level, now we're out to make something better..." sings Ebbot Lundberg over the ridiculously catchy melodic sway of "Sunshine", and you know what, he's right. The release of a new six song E.P. "Homo Futurus" and it's intriguing companion-piece, the Record Store Day limited edition vinyl and cassette album "Be Careful What You Wish For! The Embryonic Outtakes Phase 1", is by far the best thing Ebbot has done since The Soundtrack of Our Lives called it a day at the end of 2012. Firstly, I have to say that the album itself is a thing of simple beauty, released on the excellent Swedish label Kning Disk, it's limited to 500 copies, has hand-stamped labels and comes in a pure white individually numbered sleeve with lyric inserts. Lovely!

The album is basically a collection of sixteen tracks recorded as raw and basic as you can get in what appears to be one take. It's just Ebbot with acoustic guitar, backed up by Carl Johansson on a couple of songs, a smattering of percussion, simple keyboards in the background and vocal harmonies and effects every now and then but that is all. You can hear the occasional snippet of background chat, a cough here and there and the odd false start of a song intro, but as the title says, these are "embryonic outtakes", sketches of songs that work in their own stripped-down right but promise more great things to come in the future. "Here I am again" is the the album's opening statement and Ebbot continues "with all the unfinished dreams I had before...when the songbird would sing...", it's almost as if he has come to terms with the ending of The Soundtrack of Our Lives and has found his muse again. I mean, it took me almost a year after they split to be able to write about the end of the greatest Rock 'n' Roll band ever and I'm just a fan, it hit me so hard! It must have been so difficult to leave the confines of such a tight-knit outfit as TSOOL after such a long and distinguished career to go out and try again on your own.

Ebbot in London 2012 - Photo by Paul Slattery
But I suppose being in a band can have certain restraints and Ebbot certainly threw off the shackles and dived into as many diverse opportunities as possible once the band ended. One minute he could be found guesting on an eclectic mix of records by bands such as Caviare Days and La Fleur Fatale or the next reinventing himself as a Johnny Cash style acoustic troubadour. He has released a one song 43 minute ambient opus called "There's Only One Of Us Here" and reconvened with Per Svensson to release the second New Alchemy album "On The Other Side of Light", a masterclass in classic Psychedelia. Most bizarrely of all, he became a household name in Sweden with his appearance on the hugely popular reality music TV show "Så Mycket Bättre". But to me, despite this impressive work ethic, it felt as though he was searching to find his own voice again. The "Homo Erectus E.P." released under his own name was a bit disappointing to be honest, the main track "D Day Dreamer" was a Country and Western tinged acoustic ballad, "Drowning In A Wishing Well" was a pleasant piece of Burt Bacharach styled lounge-pop but I can't say it grabbed me particularly, and the less said about the third track "Över & Ut (Nu E De Slut)", the better! But here with this new collection of sketches and musical doodles he sounds as though he is bursting with energy once again, the songs radiate happiness and his voice has never been better. 
Ebbot with TSOOL, Paris 2012 - Photo by Steve Worrall
As if a whole album of new songs was not enough, the news gets even better with the release of the "The Homo Futurus E.P." on Warner Music Sweden. Four of the six songs were taken from the "Be Careful What You Wish For!" album and you can really see how those little embryonic outtakes have developed into fully grown songs ready to get out there and take on the world. Recorded with a superb new backing band, The Indigo Children, who include members of the young hotly-tipped Psychedelic band Side Effects, Martin McFaul and Daniel Gilbert. This is by far the best material that Ebbot has released post-TSOOL and indeed three of the numbers are good enough to rub shoulders with the very best of Soundtrack's hugely impressive back catalogue. The E.P. starts off with a jazzy double bass run and then bursts into a slightly sinister sea shanty "I Totally Agree" which brings to mind the little psychedelic vignettes on earlier TSOOL albums such as "Aqua Vera". But it's what comes next that blew my mind. "Backdrop People" is a stunning song that could be a huge hit single in it's own right, driven along at a fair pace, it is a melodic masterpiece with a nice background sheen of what sounds like mandolin and sitar. Next up is a track "Dysfunctional" that doesn't feature on the album and it threw me completely. There's a huge pounding drum beat and an insanely catchy guitar riff that reminded me of The Knack's "My Sharona", it makes you want to leap to your feet and dance around the room. The chorus "d-d-d-d-dysfunctional" will stick in your head for days and the song just goes crazy, underpinned with some fantastic fluid bass playing the guitars go wild.

Ebbot at the last ever London show 2012 by Paul Slattery
The first time I met Ebbot we chatted about our mutual appreciation of Black Flag and the American Hardcore Punk scene of the Eighties but it's not an influence I have ever noticed on his post-Union Carbide Productions music to be honest, however "Dysfunctional" builds to a complete power-house guitar thrash that Bad Brains would be proud of, it's an outstanding and gob-smacking song. Next up is one of my highlights from the "Be Careful What You Wish For!" album, "To Be Continued", transformed here into a wonderful orchestral version that is a match for TSOOL's "Nevermore" in it's heart-tugging beauty. There's Love style brass and an absolutely stunning acoustic guitar outro that fades nicely into another jazzy little interlude. The final song "Killing My Darlings" starts off in an acoustic-folk style and builds with some lovely keyboards and hints that he has indeed found his real niche. "I'm sad but I'm letting you know that I'm cutting you out of my show", is he talking to his ex-band-mates I wonder? "There's nothing you've done wrong but in this you don't belong". Yes, indeed Ebbot is here again, and so are the songbirds!

B&W photo Boel Ferm. With thanks to Paul Slattery and to Hans Selander from SelanderArt.

Are you a disenfranchised Soundtrack of Our Lives fan? Are you missing your fix of those great live shows, superb albums cracking singles and fun times? Well, don't worry come along and get some "Group Therapy" at the TSOOL's Fan's Facebook Page and Archive to join up with other lost souls sharing photos, memorabilia, videos and memories. Come and join us HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment