By: Peter Gaston
When it comes to pastiche of American culture, the Swedes might be top banana. The Hives know more about our own rock’n’roll culture than most bands with record deals, and they revere American music in a truly earnest way. So when Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist says, “Listen up, America,” it’s not a bad idea to do just that. Pelle calls Randy “a band who will not shy away from turning up in your hometown and turning up, [s]weating and singing their lungs and hearts and your brains out.” And every note on Randy the Band is infused with that take-no-prisoners mentality. The songs are taut and loaded with punchy, fist-pumping choruses.
But when a band from sleepy, socialist Sweden drops caps the line, “We’re still getting it on / Writing our songs / And still do everything that we can,” with rhyme like “sticking it to the man,” one can’t help but unleash a chuckle. They probably have plenty of time to stick it to the man during their five weeks of government-mandated annual vacation. Or maybe they’re using that time to hone their concise, sub-three-minute ditties that range from latter-day Social Distortion vitriol (“Razorblade”) to chipper, Andrew W.K. style faux-metal (“Better than Art”). It’s the sort of mix that might have made Randy an ideal touring partner for Murder City Devils, were they still rockin’ out today.
Randy the Band, out Jan. 10 in the U.S. via Fat Wreck Chords, is the band’s sixth album, and they’re building cred here in the States, especially with labels like FWC and, prior to that, Epitaph giving them a boost.