Is there something in the water in Sweden that means it produces more bands per capita than any other nation on Earth? From bouncy electronic bubblegum pop to the most demonic of corpse painted nun botherers, it sometimes feels as a music fan that their entire economy must hinge on dominating the airwaves of the Western World. Pretty much dead in the middle of a spectrum that goes from Abba to something with an unreadable logo comes Deadheads, a rock act with the emphasis on “rawk”, and their second release ‘Loadead.’
From the off, it is obvious that this quartet of seventies worshipping denizens of Göteborg have been raised on a diet of crotch thrusting classic rock; ‘There’s A Hole In The Sky’ pummels the listener with a snarling guitar swagger, the assault continuing with the one-two punch of the Stooges inspired ‘Out of Here’ and the rocking vocal harmonies and bar room piano thump of ‘Shine On.’ After the first three tracks whip past in under eight minutes between them, the three minutes seventeen of ‘Empty Howles’ seems positively laid back, swirling Hammond organ sounds mixing with a bluesy guitar solo that instantly brings to mind the early days of Pink Floyd, and had me wanting to chant “Shine On Your Crazy Diamond.”
This gentle number is swiftly kicked to one side with the Ramones like stomp of ‘Let Loose The Fool’ and the equally punk rock tinged ‘The Need To Sleep’, both abject lessons in how to make basic rock chords work to their maximum, unnecessary technical widdling and fiddling being gladly conspicuous by its absence. Track after track on the album sprints past in a boogie blur of blue denim, and it is only on album closer of ‘UPC’ that their winning formula of simplicity is modified, the final track of the album combining the emotional vocals of a Neil Young troubadour with an epic blues crawl of early Fleetwood Mac, a dash of guitar heroics being thrown into the extended string bending solo that is so ably carried aloft by the metronome like rhythm section.
There are a fair few bands who are mining the rich music of classic seventies rock and to bring to a new generation, and just a few of feet from where I am typing this review a pair of tickets for November’s Crobot/Scorpion Child UK tour are pinned to my notice board cum gig planner, and with the style and class on show, Deadheads could slot easily into that bill without danger of being overwhelmed. Deadheads really do stick to the K.I.S.S. principle of music; no, I don’t mean they paint themselves up, wear silly spiked costumes with platform shoes, and use on stage pyros to cover up just how tired their performances are, I mean they Keep It Simple Stupid, and ‘Loaded’ is a fine example of how less being more can be so successful.