Tuesday, October 17, 2017

LARS LUNDBERG & MATS LODÉN – Rebecca (Rebecca, 1977)

International relevance: ***
English and Swedish vocals, instrumental

Thanks to German reissue label Shadoks, this rarity has now been brought back from obscurity in its original shape. There was a CD reissue a couple of years ago, remixed and expanded with five mostly negligible bonus tracks but the Shadoks release stays true to the original 1977 album.

”Rebecca” was pieced together from different sessions in '73, '74 and '76, including one track by Lars Lundberg's and Mats Lodén's previous band Savannah. (There are loads of unreleased Savannah recordings in the vaults, most of them of poor sound quality according to the reissue's liner notes.) Only 200 copies were originally made of the album for demo purposes, but failing to attract any major label interest, the dynamic duo sold the remaining copies locally in Luleå in the north of Sweden. Lundberg even sold the reel-to-reel machine used for the sessions to afford the pressing!

”Rebecca” opens with ”I den varma solens famn”, the most atypical track of the entire album, being the only one in Swedish and the heaviest one on offer here, coming off like a hybrid of November and U.S. band Stone Harbour. The remainder of the album is in a more subdued singer/songwriter vein, sometimes akin to ”Hunky Dory” era Bowie (especially in "God's Little Child" and "I'm A Mountain"). Neither Lodén nor Lundberg are great singers, and the vocals suggest a fluctuating grasp of the English language, but the somewhat peculiar atmosphere transcends the shortcomings. ”Rebecca” has a beguiling way of creeping up on you, closer with each spin. While some musical references are obvious, the overall feel is rather singular, psychedelic but not quite psychedelic, intimate yet elusive, primitive yet oddly sophisticated.

When Lundberg and Lodén were conscripted, the duo fell apart. Lundberg gave up on music for medical studies in Uppsala, whereas Lodén relocated to Stockholm, joined various local bands and became an author.

I den varma solens famn
I'm A Mountain

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