First there was Refused – Swedish anarchists who re-defined hardcore punk in the late ’90s with their intellectual politicising, heavy guitar riffage and subtle use of electronica. Most hardcore bands these days are either copying them or still trying to catch up. Their frontman was Dennis Lyxzen.
Then came (The International) Noise Conspiracy. In a similar manner to Public Image Limited after The Sex Pistols, they ware slightly easier on the ear but still possess an abundance of vim, righteous anger and have plenty to say. Not as inspired as their forebears but definitely worth a listen.
Meanwhile, in parallel was Lost Patrol. Dennis Lyxzen decided to spread his creative wings and go punk troubador on us with two albums of acoustic, heartbroken, romantic songs. Different but far from shabby.
And now this. Not Lost Patrol but The Lost Patrol Band. Not acoustica but, according to Lyxzen, “power-pop”. It’s supposed to be fun, free, an escape from the serious “day job”. Fine, but what the heck happened to being good too?
Don’t misunderstand. It’s not easy for me to criticise music by Swedish punk legend number one. But there’s no hiding. Think “power-pop” and you might think late ’70s / early ’80s Elvis Costello. Fair enough, but there’s nothing here that is anywhere near as punchy or deliciously anthemic as Pump It Up.
On Pick Me Up, The Lost Patrol Band stick in a few hand-claps and cheesy drums. It’s as if they want to sound like The Knack but the tune just isn’t memorable enough to hold a torch to My Sharona.
Some commentators have mentioned The Buzzcocks and The Ramones. Not a chance. Lyxzen’s voice is only barely ragged while the music is far too jaunty and the guitars – painfully low in the mix – are far too clean and flimsy for this to bear any resemblance to the fathers of real pop-punk.
And that’s not the end of it. Get Ready sounds like a slightly more upbeat Tom Petty. Tom Petty?! Dennis Lyxzen?! Mentioned in the same sentence! I need a lie down…
I’m sorry Dennis. It’s one thing to hear the man who once penned an album entitled Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent now hollering such non-profundities as, “I want a girl like you!” and “Let me into your heart!” but it’s quite another when they are backed by music that sounds like it was made by a band in a US teen movie set in the early ’80s.
Still, I suppose there’s an upside to all of this. Dennis Lyxzen was a genius. Now we know he’s a flawed one. I’m off to listen to my Refused albums.