Punk! And as it should be: loud, fast, angry, trashy, vulgar and respectless. Länge leve, has got it all, including a “fuck you” attitude. Or how else to call it when a Finnish band send their release to a British site for review and their lyrics feature lines like “I wipe my arse with Union Jack”, “Your three lions are lame cows”, and “Burn up Buckingham Palace, Piss on your Stonehenge, Murder Queen Elizabeth”? Maybe our Finnish friends thought that we wouldn’t bother to translate the lyrics. But I’m way too anal to ignore the lyrics of something I’m reviewing.
Bob Malmström are from Epsoo Finland and have been around since 2010. If you are a punk and hardcore fan, you will probably like their most recent EP Länge leve, released digitally and on cassette – they chose the latter format, because they assumed it will sell well with hipsters, as they say on their Bandcamp page.
The EP has a running time of only 14 minutes in total and starts with a short a capella song, sung by a male choir and titled Modersmalets sang [mother tongue song]. It has a nostalgic, kitschy and schmaltzy character reminding me of German and Austrian Heimatfilme, where the stags run around in packs.
Because of the unusual intro and the contrast created by it Häng dig! hits like a bomb. Screaming, thrashing, galloping and rolling, the production anything but clean, this is punk designed to knock you off your feet. The subject of the track’s lyrics are the Finns’ neighbouring Swedes, and the fact that they are trying very hard to be Americans, “licking arse, day in, day out.”
Next up is Du är problemet [You are the problem], the EP’s longest (though it lasts only three and a half minutes) and best track. This is still punk, but with a good touch of metal. The production is cleaner, you can make out the guitars, and there is a bit of black metal tremolo picking in the last third of the song. The lyrics are also the EP’s best, commenting on how people always blame others for their situation in life, instead of thinking about how they themselves have contributed to it. This is absolutely worth a listen, and if the whole EP was like this, I would have given it an even higher mark.
After Du är problemet follows Ruttet te [Rotten tea]. Musically, it is neither a special nor a spectacular track, but the lyrics… My, oh my. As far as I know, this is the first punk song about Brexit, or at least the first that I have come across, and it has nothing nice to say about Britain or the British. What it does say is in line with the quotes I mentioned in the beginning. In summary, Brexit is called a blessing – for the rest of Europe.
Se dig i spegeln is next. Like Du är problemet it has a metal tinge and is therefore one of the better and more innovative tracks, with good, double kick drumming in its finish.
The EP closes with Skal!, and we all know what that means. The folky, somewhat Irish sounding song, featuring a violin and an acoustic guitar, has a much brighter and positive atmosphere than the rest of the EP.
So, what to say about this in the end? It’s a bit nasty, yes, but that’s what’s punk supposed to be. I have no problem with that. I don’t like the inconsistencies, though. If you thematize how “fingers always point sideways,” how people always blame someone else, it’s a bit… lame if you do the same. I’m pretty sure there’s shit to bemoan in Finland. Have you heard about sweeping in front of your own door first? Judging people by their nationality is not very punk either, it’s the opposite of punk.
In my experience, people, basically, are the same wherever you go. Some are decent, most aren’t. But if you encounter problems, it sure helps to think about your own behaviour and whether maybe Du är problemet.