Thursday, October 12, 2017

AVGRUNDEN – Nu närmar vi oss... (MNW, 1975)

International relevance: ***
Swedish vocals

Malmö band Avgrunden had been around for two years when MNW released their first and only album ”Nu närmar vi oss...” in 1975. When Blå Tåget disintegrated after releasing ”Slowfox” in 1974, some thought Avgrunden were those most likely to follow in Blå Tåget's footsteps. Perhaps it was the use of clarinet that tricked people into thinking that, because Avgrunden have little to do with Blå Tåget. Their music is indeed diverse just like Blå Tåget's, but Avgrunden were a tighter band and their music was more fluent.

It's a pity that ”Nu närmar vi oss...” is such a neglected effort – it's one of the lesser acknowledged albums most worthy of a wider attention. The songs are well crafted and melodic, often beautiful with poetic sensibilities. As one might expect from the album cover with a red star attached to the Swedish national flag, the lyrics are political but not in that yell-in-your-face fashion known from many other, overtly political bands of the era. The message never gets in the way of the music. The vocals blend in nicely with the music, creating a cohesive and very engaging whole, thorough but not overdone.

For want of a better word, ”Nu närmar vi oss...” is in a folk rock style, but it has too many facets to comfortably pinpoint really. There are touches of psychedelia (”Skräckfärden”) and even tango (”Datamaskin”). Sometimes they remind me of Samla Mammas Manna, as in opening/closing track ”Signaturen”, and sometimes of Thomas Wiehe (not only because of the Skåne dialect).

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Raimo Juntunen actually appeared with Thomas Wiehe in the much debated children's TV series ”Vilse in pannkakan” in 1975, as well as on Wiehe's fine and under-appreciated ”Tårta och raketer” from 1977. In 1985 Juntunen teamed up with Björn J:son Lindh in Triangulus along with members of Ragnarök, Samla Mammas Manna and Arbete & Fritid.

Clarinet player Sven-Olof Lorentzen became a prolific author following Avgrunden's demise. His works include novels, children's books and theatrical plays.

1. Signaturen
2. En annorlunda sommarvisa
3. Datamaskin
4. Skräckäventyr
5. Skånehöst
6. Gamsången
7. Mexico
8. Aldrig i livet
9. Avgrundslagen
10. Självkritik
11. Svenska gårdar
12. Signaturen (en gång till)

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