Music: They're big in Sweden and coming this way

Fiona Sturges goes to Gothenburg to meet unreconstructed rockers Soundtrack Of Our Lives

At the end of Kula Shaker's last tour, the audience paid so much more attention to obscure Swedish support band Soundtrack Of Our Lives that humbled Kula Shaker drummer, Paul Winterhart, resorted to begging their drummer Frederik Sandsten for lessons.

A strangely incongruous, hulking six-man band from Gothenburg with a penchant for Seventies psychedelia and dramatic guitar solos, Soundtrack Of Our Lives are in fact a bit like Kula Shaker, but better.

The Swedish music scene has finally cast off the Eurovision stigma that afflicted it throughout the post-Abba Eighties. While not necessarily constituting a musical mutiny, the rise of The Cardigans and The Wannadies means astute A&R people are scouring Scandinavia for the next big thing. Swedish bands are also set to find a wider audience with Stockholm being this year's European City of Culture, an honour ensuring every hotel in the Swedish capital is bulging with young people taking in the local talent and making the most of the city's prolonged drinking hours.

Soundtrack Of Our Lives' forthcoming single, "Instant Repeater 99", has great anthemic potential, and could rest happily among the popular glut of Oasis-driven guitar bands. But the multi-tracked, faux-orchestral pomp of their album, Welcome To The Infant Freebase, carries distinct elements of prog rock, a genre that is today a source of embarrassment, having gone out with mullet hairdoes and pointy shoes. Elongated instrumental spells and obscure song titles - "Chromosome layer", "Embryonic rendezvous" - and lofty lyrics declaiming "from the golden dawn of history / I'm a Mantra slider / And I'm here to give you inner peace", do little to resist this unhappy classification.

But Seventies nostalgia seems here to stay, for a while at least, and this might be the making of Soundtrack in Britain. They have already garnered an impressively starry fan base over here. The Chemical Brothers regularly attend their gigs, while The Charlatan's frontman Tim Burgess proclaimed their album as the best of last year. Most impressive of all is that they have been invited to play alongside their heroes, Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, at The Bridge festival in Malmo next week.

The band were spending their first afternoon off in three weeks when I met them lounging in their Stockholm hotel. Judging by the twitching hotel staff and their packed itinerary, Soundtrack have made it big in Sweden. They are accustomed to playing to crowds of 10,000 upwards, and their fans know all the words to their songs, which is no mean feat. They are not, however, blase about playing the sweaty cupboard-under-the-stairs venues in England. "People know us in Sweden. When we go overseas, it is a challenge to conquer the audience," says keyboardist Martin.

Their day has already involved a 6.00am appearance on a naff breakfast TV show - "somewhere between a chat show and Top Of The Pops in Britain", says guitarist Ian. At lunchtime, they played in a Stockholm record shop to a deluge of pre-pubescent fans, and this evening they are set to play a secret gig in the hippest of Stockholm hang-outs, the G Club.

They are endearingly, every inch a "rock" band - all hair, eyeliner and tight trousers. There are the requisite retinue of publicists, A&R people, girlfriends and anonymous hangers-on, and they firmly believe in staying up all night, trashing hotel rooms, and getting journalists inordinately drunk.

But despite their comic appearance, they are serious about their music and it is hard not to warm to their sincerity. Singer Ebbot Lundberg and guitarist Ian Persson first met back in 1981 as teenagers in Gothenburg, where the whole band grew up. "We were both really into the Stooges and Captain Beefheart," remembers Ian, already offering me some red wine. "We were stealing records from each other and played together in this basement." They soon split up, as the three-year age gap between them started to cause social problems. "You can't hang out together at that age, so I had to go away and do my own thing."

They were reunited a few years later when they formed Union Carbide Productions, an underground outfit popular among the shaven-headed metallers of Gothenburg. "At this time I was modelling myself on hardcore bands, particularly the UK Subs and Black Flag," says Ebbot. After the demise of Union Carbide in 1991, the other four, guitarist Mattias Barjed, drummer Frederik Sandsten, bassist Kalle Gustavsson and keyboardist Martin Hedros, were recruited to form Soundtrack.

If Soundtrack were the Spice Girls, then Ebbot would be Scary. His booming voice is a good two octaves lower than his counterparts, and he sports a belly you could set a bar up on. A strange hybrid of the Messiah and Goliath, he cultivates further the biblical effect with a floor-length robe for gigs. "People call me Jesus in the press but I think I am more of a mix between Benny Hill and George Best," he laughs throatily. Guitarist Mattias has less of the Spice Girls' qualities, but, to continue the boy/girl band theme, he's a dead ringer for Take That's Mark Owen - a comparison for which he will certainly not thank me. Despite his boyish good looks and classical training ("it was no fun"), he is the most rock-oriented of all. At the climax of their gigs, he drops to his knees and plays guitar with his backside. Keyboardist Martin is the archetypal Soho pin-up, while Ian's trailing blond tresses and black fingernails plant him firmly in the heavy metal bracket, though he claims to be more into jazz.

Live, they teeter between classic rock, hardcore and psychedelia, and border on the theatrical. Singer Ebbot's scorching vocals, not to mention his evangelical appearance, lend their sound an extraordinarily dramatic quality, while their perfectly-crafted, delightfully absurd personal performances provide endless entertainment.

Soundtrack are intent on success in Britain, and have a busy schedule of summer festivals ahead of them. "I'm not so sure about Glastonbury," admits Kalle. "All that mud, uurgh!" Perhaps they will fare better at Reading, where the crowd can bang their heads to their heart's delight.

Soundtrack Of Our Lives' single 'Instant Repeater 99' is out on Coalition Records on 1 June.

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Early Years Teacher

    £90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Early Years supply teachers neede...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Progressive Rec.

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Progressive Recruitment are cu...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

    KS2 Teacher required from October

    £90 - £120 per annum: Randstad Education Hull: Key Stage 2 Supply Teacher requ...

    Day In a Page

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor