The Soundtrack of Our Lives

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The Soundtrack of Our Lives

Rock group

If a title like Extended Revelation for the Psychic Weaklings of Western Civilization doesn't tell you that the Soundtrack of Our Lives are a psychedelic rock band, their eccentric, robe-wearing lead singer might affirm it. Ebbot Lundberg and Bjorn Olsson founded the Swedish underground-popular rock band Union Carbide Productions in 1986. After a number of volatile and punk-influenced albums, the band broke up in 1993. Taking member Ian Person with them, two years later, Lundberg and Olsson started up a new band to be called the Soundtrack of Our Lives.

With a fond admiration for '70s psychedelic-folk band Love and classic rock and prog, the Soundtrack of Our Lives created a modern sound that was equal parts neo-psychedelia, prog pop, and classic rock, but with a contemporary feel. Joining the three former members of Union Carbide Productions was drummer Frederick Sandsten, keyboardist Martin Hederos, and bassist Kalle Gustafsson. The band released their debut EP Homo Habilis Blues, followed by their first full-length album, Welcome to the Infant Freebase, in 1996. The full-length album, not released in the United States, contained 20 songs of dark, classic rock riffs and moods.

Shortly after the release of the album, Olsson left the touring portion of the group but chose to still record with the band in the studio. In 1998, the band released their heady album Extended Revelation for the Psychic Weaklings of Western Civilization. With trippy Pink Floyd ethereal atmospheres and a melancholic vibe, All Music Guide 's Stewart Mason called the album, "'90s pyschedelia at its finest," although the album wasn't initially released in the United States.

Though the band seemed ready to take over the world, inside the Soundtrack of Our Lives camp, not all was content. The group contemplated breaking up after exhaustive touring. They fortunately realized the chemistry of the group and continued to forge on, as Lundberg told Amplifier; "We just decided that we can't quit this, it's too good, and it's stupid to just lay it all down. We decided to go on. Now it's better than ever," he said upon the release of their 2001 American debut Behind the Music. After releasing their albums everywhere around the world except the United States, in 2001, the group signed with Universal's Republic subsidiary. Behind the Music would be their first American release as well as their first album recorded without Olsson, who was replaced by new guitarist Mattias Barjed.

With Behind the Music 's groove-laden melodies and hard-hitting riffs, by the time American fans caught on to Soundtrack of Our Lives there was a full-fledged Swedish explosion going on across the world due to success of popular garage-rock bands like the Hives. Though TSOOL (as they are commonly referred) had been around for years, to many it seemed like they were jumping on the bandwagon. One listen to the enormous rhythms and personality of Behind the Music, and fans knew TSOOL were no copycats. "...spirited and gushing with passion. It's full of kinetic garagey riffs but suffused with classic rock melodies that make songs catchier than those of many of their rock peers," wrote about the album.

An opening slot on Oasis' tour helped new audiences catch on to TSOOL's visceral and magical live shows. Behind the Music had modest single success with the track "Sister Surround," that although sounded lush and autumnal, was actually telling a dark tale as Lundberg told; "It's basically about some weird girl that was hanging around our guitarist. She was this wretched person, and it's about being locked up in a mental hospital in a way. I don't know what happened to her. She just disappeared. It's a sad story."

While many of the bands lumped into the Swedish explosion of 2001 and 2002 sounded alike, TSOOL were confident in their own unique and ambitious brand of rock 'n' roll. "Basically you long for something that you're missing. There are not that many good bands around, so you have to create your own ... We want to save the world or the music industry from shit music, bring back spirit and renew rock 'n' roll," Lundberg told The band toured to support their American debut for more than three exhaustive years. In 2004, the band began to lay down tracks for a new record. They recorded almost four albums worth of songs, but somehow scaled the output down to one 12-song album. Released in March of 2004, Origins, Vol. 1 was heavier on the live rock sound than their more psychedelic tinged past and even included a duet with French icon Jane Birkin on the track "Midnight Children (Enfants De La Nuit)." "I think all of the years touring Behind the Music has affected the music a lot. A lot of the songs on this album are completely perfect to play live. Bigger rock songs," Barjed said on the band's official website. They recorded so many songs that they titled the album Vol. 1 in hopes of a second volume to be released shortly after.

"TSOOL has worked the essential riffs of big-arena rock 'n' roll (the Who, the Rolling Stones, AC/DC) into its own unstoppable DNA," wrote Billboard. On the band's website, Lundberg explained their new rock-heavy direction on Origin, Vol. 1; "We wanted a more straightforward sound, sort of back to the roots, thus the name Origin."

Though the band has had it's troubles—both with record labels and each other—the musicians in the Soundtrack of Our Lives know they've got something special, and plan on making music together as long as that stays true as Lundberg said on the band's website; "I'm so surprised at where all this creative energy comes from. To be still together and this creative ... It doesn't make sense."

For the Record . . .

Members include Mattias Barjed (born on May 21, 1973, joined group, 1996), guitar; Kale Gustafsson Jerneholm (born on April 27, 1970), bass; Martin Hederos (born on June 30, 1972), key boards; Ebbot Lundberg (born on February 26, 1966), vocals; Bjorn Olsson (born on August 19, 1963, left group 1996), guitar; Ian Person (born on February 13, 1969), guitar; Fredrik Sandsten (born on December 31, 1969), drums.

Group formed in Sweden, with former members of Union Carbide Productions, c. 1995; released debut album, Welcome to the Infant Freebase, 1996; followed with Extended Revelation for the Psychic Weak-lings of Western Civilization, 1998; signed to U.S. label Universal/Republic, 2001; released Behind theMusic; released Origin, Vol. 1, 2005.

Addresses: Record company—Universal Records, 1755 Broadway, 7th Fl., New York, NY 10007, phone: (212) 373-0684. Website—The Soundtrack of Our Lives Of ficial Website:

Selected discography

Homo Habilis Blues (EP), Telegram, 1996.

Welcome to the Infant Freebase, Hidden Agenda Records/Warner Music Sweden, 1996.

Extended Revelation for the Psychic Weaklings of WesternCivilization, Hidden Agenda Records/Warner Music Sweden, 1998.

Behind the Music, Republic/Universal/Hidden Agenda, 2001.

Origin, Vol. 1, Republic/Universal, 2005.



Amplifier, November/December, 2001.

Online, (July 7, 2005).

"The Soundtrack of Our Lives,", (July 7, 2005).

"The Soundtrack of Our Lives," All Music Guide, (July 7, 2005).

The Soundtrack of Our Lives Official Website, (July 7, 2005).

Additional information provide by Hidden Agenda Records

—Shannon McCarthy

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The Soundtrack of Our Lives

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