You never really know what musical curveballs you are going to get when a new album from Swedish streetpunks City Saints drops on your desk for review, although with their fourth long player ‘Pa Svenska’ you could say the writing is on the wall, or perhaps, the sleeve.
That’s because ‘Pa Svenska’ or ‘In Swedish’ is a collection of a dozen songs written and recorded in the band’s mother tongue.
Having had a bit of a soft spot for bands that do just this ever since I first heard the French language version of Trust’s ‘Repression’ LP (I learned more French from that album than I ever did from my piss poor chain-smoking schoolteacher that’s for sure) and more recently the likes of Kvelertak and the hugely impressive Ondt Blod having both made sizeable dents in my trusty old Wharfedale cones, I have to admit I’m really intrigued to find out what City Saints have to offer this time around.
Diving straight in then and if anything ‘Pa Svenska’ is the most straight-ahead street punk rock ‘n’ roll record that Stefan Johansson on vocals and harmonica, Gabriel Aadland on guitar and backing vocals, Carl Linnaeus on bass and Robbin Larsson on drums have recorded since their ‘Kicking For The Working Class’ debut.
The opening 1-2-3 of ‘Banditer’, ‘Verklighet’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ all motor along on razor sharp riffs filled with infectious melody lines and if anything these songs remind me of another album that I was listening to around the time I first got into Trust, namely Rose Tattoo’s seminal debut record.
‘Enade’ (a song about uniting against the evils of politics) has more than a hint of City Saints long time influence, the mighty Cock Sparrer, going on in the guitar intro and I’m pretty sure that the total thrash out that is ‘Skallebank’ has more than a little bit of a Dirt Box Disco going on within its grooves. This is still very much City Saints though and as ‘Karma’ proves a fantastically catchy song is a fantastically catchy song whatever language it is written and sung in.
The boogie-tastic ‘Göteborg’ ‘Fyllecell’, ‘Stryk’ and ‘Tvär’ will immediately have you tucking your thumbs into your belt loops as the Swedish frantic four invite us to a riotous double denim party, you just need to bring your own party seven to make it complete. Rounding things off on side two ‘Parasiter’ and ‘Svin’ somehow manage to drink in the spirit of early Undertones whilst raising a one finger Stooges piano driven salute to racists everywhere.
With a running time of 28 minutes, ‘Pa Svenska’ simply flies by in a blur of memorable riffs and hooks and you’ll be speaking Swedish before you know it. Perfekt!
Author: Johnny Hayward