Tuesday, October 10, 2017

MOTVIND - Känn dej blåst! (Nacksving, 1976) / Jo jo, ja ja (Nacksving, 1977) / Motvind (Nacksving, 1978) / Snacka går ju (Nacksving, 1980)

There's been much debate over the years as to what is progg and what is not. With the renewed interest in progressive music in the 90's and the emergence of neo-prog acts like Änglagård, Anekdoten and Landberk, the politically inclined music and the out-and-out rock bands of the 70's were pushed even further back in the public's mind than before, even though they originally were as much part of the progg movement as, say Kaipa, Fläsket Brinner and Trettioåriga Kriget (all of which reformed in the 90's and 00's). Truth is, progg is a nebulous term for a nebulous movement, and saying that the Bob Dylan and The Band inspired Hoola Bandoola Band or the straightforward rock sound of Nationalteatern weren't progg is just revisionist nonsense. Progg refers to the politically progressive every bit as much as the musically progressive. Of course, one can choose not to listen to the political bands but the Swedish progg music must be perceived as the broad palette of expressions it was, otherwise we end up in the wrong spot historically.

That said, there was a heated debate going on already in the 70's, especially towards the tail end of the decade as the more politically oriented groupings of the progg movement re-positioned and moved closer to the fore. There were bizarre discussions if it was OK to even play music inspired by American rock'n'roll which by some was considered counterproductive to the socialist struggle against imperialism. A book of essays and articles was published by Oktoberförlaget in 1977, ”Folket har aldrig segrat till fiendens musik” – ”the people has never conquered to the sound of the enemy's music”, and that title perfectly reflects the general zeitgeist.

Some bands had pejoratives like ”stone crusher rock” thrown at them, among them Gothenburg's Motvind. Musically speaking, they were anti-progressive, much like several other Gothenburg progg bands. Then again, Motvind weren't overt propagandists and didn't like the progg movement at all, calling it ”a fog-minded sect with too many theories and tea drinking on the agenda”. Nevertheless, they and Nationalteatern possibly had the greatest appeal to the sometimes less fortunate youth, addressing concerns and problems of the everyday life growing up in the suburbs, acknowledging their existence in a way few others did. Motvind gained a reputation as a reliable live act, often performing in youth centres in the Gothenburg area.

Känn dej blåst! (Nacksving, 1976)
International relevance: *
Swedish vocals

Hearing debut album ”Känn dej blåst!”, it's easy to understand why Motvind struck a chord with the under-acknowledged, marginalized youth of the day. It's outspoken and down-to-earth lyrics set to hard edged rock for a hard edged life, well enough exemplified by the Rolling Stones infused ”Skolanlåtan”, the guitar driven ”Öppna gårdar” (very similar to fellow Gothenburg band Nynningen's ”För full hals”) and the updated Chuck Berry rock'n'roll of ”Solidaritetslåten”. The gusto of ”Känn dej blåst!” is what makes it Motvind's best album, but what made it great to people of a certain age in a certain time is what makes it hard to sit through today. Motvind's brand of socially aware and simplistic rock simply hasn't aged very well.



Jo jo, ja ja (Nacksving 1977)
International relevance: *
Swedish vocals
Follow up album ”Jo jo, ja ja” is more of the same down & dirty boogie rock (including a stilted "Johnny B. Goode" cover in Swedish, "Rudolf e stark") as on "Känn dej blåst!", only with a somewhat tighter production and an overall heavier sound. Slower numbers such as ”Arbetslös” and ”Lära för livet” fare better. ”Lära för livet” is great actually, the best track Motvind ever did. However, this is the instrumental version used in the controversial 1977 TV series of the same name  – the much better vocal version can be heard on the various artists ”Fristil” compilation also on the Nacksving label, on the ”Pregnant Rainbows For Colourblind Dreamers” 4CD various artists box set, as well as on 'best of' styled Motvind comps.

Lena 



Motvind (Nacksving, 1978)
International relevance: *
Swedish vocals
Three albums into their career and Motvind's original but limited appeal has definitely worn off. They still try to rock macho hard, but ”Motvind” as an even weaker effort than the previous one. "Asfalt, glas, betong och stål" starts in a promising way but soon turns into standard Motvind track. The best track by far is album opener ”I välfärdens tecken” in a melancholy and slightly uneasy vein, a bit similar to ”Lära för livet”.



Snacka går ju... (Nacksving, 1980)
International relevance: *
Swedish vocals

And down and down and down it goes... In 1980, Motvind realized they needed to expand their style a bit which only made things even worse. Beer breath heavy metal seeped into their songs, and in order to get a fuller sound, they hired back-up singers which was an act of serious miscalculation, like pouring Worcester sauce (I hate Worcester sauce) on rice pudding (I hate rice pudding). ”Mr. X” even adds a touch of antiseptic funk to the mix, irreversibly sealing the sad fate of the album. Not to mention that Rolling Stones inspired album art... 


The four Nacksving albums above have all been released in a 4CD box set entitled "Svinhugg från Götet". Motvind made two further albums for different labels in the 80's, ”Hjärta av stål” (1981) and ”Kamikaze” (1983). A non-album 7" ("Plockepinn" b/w "Törst") was released in 1979. A previously unreleased 1977 radio session is included in the ”Progglådan” 40CD box set, and there's an official bootleg of a 1980 gig, "Slaget vid Stångebro", sold through the band's website. Motvind reunited a couple of years ago, now with singer/guitarist Juris Salmins known as Jack McGuinness.

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