- Body music with a Swedish folk twist.
- EBM is big right now, and the deeper you delve into its 30-year history, the more nuanced and knotty it gets. Everyone within the community has a fierce opinion about what EBM is and isn't. The main issue is that, while EBM is so distinctive and highly specific, it also leaves a lot of room for variation. Take the difference between EBM and body music. Kess Kill label boss Mika Hallbäck (AKA Rivet) is a strong advocate of one and not the other. He describes body music as "loose yet hard hitting, warm/wet, man vs machine," compared to EBM, which is "precise and sharp, cold/dry, machine killed man." Gothenburg trio Vanligt Folk sit squarely in the former camp with their sludgy, primal, post-punk synth music. Hambo, their second full-length, is a contemporary club skewer of the traditional Swedish polska dance of the same name.
It takes a few listens to appreciate the psychedelic weirdness of Hambo. The parts that grate at first––notably singer Carl I Carlsson's warped vocals––soon become Hambo's greatest charm, while lurching machine rhythms and heady dub-scapes make it an intoxicating listen throughout.
Occasionally Hambo strays too far. "Hitlers Dreamboy" is a nightmarish manipulated vocal and drum track that can be difficult to get through––but is absolutely worth it once that fat dub bass bleeds through. "Dina Drîmmar Lever" is ghoulish, but again we're saved by a bass rhythm that gets you nodding along to the perversion. Hambo isn't one long provocation, however. There are moments of dazzling club lucidity, like "TKO," with its undulating bass sequence and lyrics you can almost sing along to, and the more demented "Grisebassen," with its killer, whacked-out bassline. More gems lurk in murk.
Hallbäck refers to Kess Kill as an "alternate reality," and that's exactly what Vanligt Folk provide with Hambo. This is body music rendered through a prism of old Swedish folk references and current socio-political discourse. It is its own self-contained musical universe: part twisted fairy tale, part avant-garde club record. As EBM looks dangerously on trend, we need more fomenting re-inventors like Vanligt Folk.
01. Hemma Med Familjen
03. Hitlers Dreamboy/Och Flickor
04. Dina Drömmar Lever
07. Dåli Vajb