Released: 26 January 2018
Label: Fuzz Club Records
Stockholm shoegazers Dead Vibrations have assembled a sordidly scuzzy set of tunes for their eponymous debut album – unleashed by London's Fuzz Club Records.
Published in Crash
Dead Vibrations have been graced with a niche opportunity on account of how rare sightings are of psyched-out, shoegazing, grunge monsters in their native Stockholm, which has made the band’s birth and rise all the more streamlined. Since 2015 the Swedes have churned out a solidly scuzzy EP Reflections, a brazenly bassy single Swirl/Sleeping In Silvergarden, gigged their way across Europe at every psych-fest going and signed with Fuzz Club Records in London to release their eponymous debut album — out on January 26th, 2018. Referring to them as ‘a busy bunch’ would be to understate their ambition and accomplishment.
The bar is set to a top-tier high from the outset with On A Sunday Morning, its fixed and frantic drumming from Josefin Ahlqvist Lyzwinski marries with the reverbing wail of Olov Sjogren’s guitar with great ease and promptly establishes the murky-twilight vibe that the band sell so well. Their sound conjures an aura of a darker edged Pixies as it screeches and thrashes its way to the finish line, snapping through that tape like a runner on ‘roids.
Chemical Hug’s horrible harmonics pave the way for the track’s white-noised guitar, which reaches a nails-on-chalkboard peak early on, but somehow finds a way to keep climbing skyward and exacerbating that tremble in your head, taking it from migraine to Scanners. Dive With You bulges with itchy guitars, the incessant beat of tribal toms and singer Christian Jansson’s ghostly vocals. Marbles continues with manic levels of distortion and Lyzwinksi’s hammering percussion, while Elmer Hallsby’s backbone bass cements the track as a stand-out offering.
The album plateaus soon after commencing, safely at a reasonable altitude nevertheless, but it lacks a true progression — it never goes beyond the stroking of the listener’s existing angst; to have taken a step further into the darkness would not have been tricky for this gloomy gang. Void is a low point on the album, which is a shame due to the steadily increasing momentum that has been building up until now, but this frankly bland number causes a loss of cabin pressure. Hope is however restored by the band’s heavy lunge into grunge — adding a welcome depth to their sound. In Habits’ droning guitars and scuzzy bass line channel the nineties Seattle scene to a T, but administers an additional dose of fuzzing misery.
Throughout, but chiefly on closing track Bitter Better Way, evident shades of Craig Dyer’s Manchester post-punk outfit The Underground Youth cannot be overlooked. The percussion’s rhythmic ferocity — akin to that of a war march — coupled with a star-sailing guitar, hissing as it crashes through an orbit of debris, puts this evocation firmly into the spotlight. Sweden may not have a bustling psych scene, but it is very much alive elsewhere. With this in mind, it is difficult to say that Dead Vibrations are contributing anything greatly fresh to the genre. Frontman Jansson has a hard time standing up to Dyer’s deep and pained vocal tact, however, his hushed and eerie tones give the band its haunting ambience and is a merit that should be heralded in its own right.