Tuesday, October 3, 2017

ANNA KOKA 5 ÄGG JAG ÄR VÄRD I HUSET – Anna Koka 5 Ägg Jag Är Värd I Huset (Fllärrp-Skivor, 1975)

International relevance: **
Swedish vocals

One of the most intriguing albums to come out during the progg years was this one by the equally intriguingly named Anna Koka 5 Ägg Jag Är Värd I Huset (”Anna boil five eggs I'm the host of the house”). They're often compared to Philemon Arthur & The Dung and there are indeed similarities between the two. Both bands hailed from Skåne, the southernmost part of Sweden – members of Anna Koka 5 Ägg came from Helsingborg and Lomma, and they recorded their self-released album in Malmö in the summer of 1975. Both Philemon Arthur and Anna Koka 5 Ägg had a kind of demented semi-folk vibe, but Anna Koka 5 Ägg had a more mature sound to their quirky bounce, augmented by the use of banjo, flute and clarinet.

Their lyrics are even more bizarre than those of Philemon Arthur & The Dung, adding to the overall surreal feel signifying their self-titled album. Sometimes in a nursery rhyme style, and sometimes using semantic absurdities to great effect, they often tell the stories of characters living on the fringes of society. Titles include ”Hellre dör jag än mister livet” (”I'd rather die than lose my life”), ”Med 3 steg tar jag 2” (”in three steps, I take two”), and ”En hetlevrad man från Hjo” (”an irascible man from Hjo” – Hjo is the name of a small town in Sweden), to name only a few translatable ones. The strange otherness of ”Anna Koka 5 Ägg Jag Är Värd I Huset” puts it into parallel orbit with ”Svart mjölk”, although the mood is not as bleak as often the case with Luleå band Spilld Mjölk's sole effort.

Contrary to what their meagre output might suggest – this was their only outing – Anna Koka 5 Ägg were active for many years, starting out as early as in 1970. Gigs were rare, but they made a couple of shows sharing the bill with a couple of bigger progg acts in the mid 70's. They reunited at least once, for the local Röstånga festival in 2007. The album was originally released in an edition of 300 copies, but was made available briefly as a CD-R reissue through the band's now defunct website.

While the lyrics add a lot to the eccentric charm of the album, I'd say it's still worth seeking out for non-Swedish listeners interested in obscure, off-kilter music. Unfortunately, I've not been able to find any sound clips, leaving it to you and your detective skills to track down a copy of this oddly graceful album.

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