Hidden Gems & Guilty Pleasures: Statues (Sweden)
Photos by Ossian Danielsson Öberg
Statues (Alternative / Indie Rock / Post-Punk, Sweden)
90’s alternative rock was never anything else then great pop-songs filtered through screaming guitars. The Swedish based power trio Statues can be filed under your typical SST band. Simple, impulsive, eccentric, and just wonderful. They could be that third band that played somewhere in the midwest together with Hüsker Dü and Sonic Youth during the late ’80s. Rock has perhaps never been this catchy. Statues are a tornado on a collision course with your hometown.
The indie-rock outfit Statues from Umeå, Sweden has a dense stubbornness as their musical trademark. At the same time, there is unobtrusive security and a sense of dynamics in the group’s tasteful association of tantrum noises and winding melodies. Much of the establishment is unmistakably bottled in an indie-rock and post-punk North American-style tradition, and aesthetic threads of origin are related to a young and hungry Hüsker Dü as well as legendary alternative labels like SST and Dischord.
The trio has been playing together in different constellations since 1991. The red thread throughout the years is that everything has become more and more intense and angry for each year. During the years the members have been heard through bands such as Starmarket, KVLR, and The Vultures. In 2018 everything culminated at the start of Statues. The same year debut album »Adult Lobotomy« was released through German label Crazysane Records. The furious and straightforward expression of the high-intense debut album made it sold out in no time.
“In music it’s a rare balance to successfully blend politics and fun, aggression with melody. Drawing on some of my fave post-punk influences and classic rock grooves, Statues debut »Adult Lobotomy« walks a line like Phillippe Petit across the sky between Twin Towers, gracefully subversive.” — Walter Schreifels (Quicksand, Rival Schools, Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits)
In 2020 Statues released their second album »Holocene« on Lövely Records. The band wrote over 40 songs and all of them were short, fast, and extremely intense. The band recorded 11 songs in just three hours. It was the first time in the history for Sandås Silence Studio to repay a band for pre-booked studio time. The entire album was mixed and mastered by Christian Ramirez.
The lyrics and artwork were made before the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020. Although the lyrics give hints of threatful viruses, sinkholes, and total environmental collapse. Perhaps we should borrow the crystal ball from Statues, or just accept that the band already is a part of the future. As best we can know, Statues might very well be the future.
Statues began writing and recording new material in 2021. Johan Sellman had written over 20 new songs in just a couple of months and after a couple of covid quarantines the band could finally enter Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg together with producer Christian Ramirez. The new album was mainly recorded live in a furious tempo during 5 days. Doing an album in that short amount of time requires no second guessing, everything that was played ended up on tape, including the bands’ energy and stubbornness.
»Black Arcs Rising« is the third studio album by Swedish rock trio Statues. This 12 track full-length release brings back the imperishable soundscapes of 90’s alternative rock while showcasing Statues’ melodic, direct, and intense approach to songwriting. »Black Arcs Rising« is produced and mixed by Christian Ramirez (Park Hotell, Dödsfest, Mattias Alkberg BD) who also adds additional guitar on the tracks »Perfect Storm«, »Sardonic Grin«, and »Eyes In The Sky«, and mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna, The Hellacopters, Tribulation, Refused, Stiu Nu Stiu). The album features guest vocals by Per Stålberg (Division Of Laura Lee, Pablo Matisse) on »Phantasm«, »Dead Of Summer«, and »Hiding In A Hole«, and art direction by Joel Dunkels. As with Statues 2020 album »Holocene«, »Black Arcs Rising« is released by Swedish independent label Lövely Records.
Statues on the new album »Black Arcs Rising«: “We recorded the album in the Swedish gramophone studio in Gothenburg. The time before we got some kind of hubris and recorded 20 songs, but ended up with 12. We worked non-stop the entire studio time of 5 days and ate, slept and showered with the instruments. Johan triggered the alarm the first thing he did and a microwave oven and an amplifier caught fire. »The Cat People« soundtrack and »Neu« went hot on the stereo.”
The title warns of worse times. Black Arcs can be seen in a chart, but it can also mean that there are black arcs rising from the ground that warn of worse times. Our texts are often prophetic by accident. The last record, »Holocene«, had a song called »Lockdown« and then came the pandemic. The lyrics are as usual of the darker kind, but there is also a kind of black humor in the absurdity described. If you do it wrong, things will go to hell and therefore it must be warned about the madness that exists. It may already be too late to save the world as the doomsday clock is close to midnight, but by pointing to the absurdities of environmental destruction, consumerism, capitalism, the annexation of other countries and an unwillingness to change behavior, we are doing what we can to encourage change.
The single »Agony« is the first new music from the Swedish alternative rock group since their 2020 album »Holocene«, and the first taste of Statues upcoming third studio album. »Agony« is a cover of Yung Lean and Yung Gud’s track from 2017.
Statues on »Agony«: “Yung Lean’s song »Agony« is a both beautiful and sad great tune, with spaced out lyrics. The nice melodies were taken from the strange piano to guitars and we played it at a high tempo. It felt important to choose a cover whose style is far from ours, and we succeeded quite well with that. We wanted the song to sound like it was written in 1991 by Archers Of Loaf or Seam.”
The melodic, bittersweet, and shoegaze-infused »Chemicals« is launched as the second single. “The idea for the lyrical theme in »Chemicals« comes from our producer Christian, who asked if a previous song was about the Una bomber. The song is not about Ted Kaczynski, but Christian provided the inspiration for a lyric that deals with the damage that confused people and the advancement of technology can cause. The song was previously called Rotwang, after the mad scientist in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.” the band elaborates.
About the third single »Dead Of Summer«, Statues comment: “Per Stålberg (Division Of Laura Lee, Pablo Matisse) visited us in the studio one day and layed down vocals on this one. Its fun to play, because it’s on the verge of being too fast for us, on the verge of collapsing all the time. Panic but in a good way.”
»Black Arcs Rising« will be released on May 5th, 2023 via Lövely Records. The album will be available digitally and in two color variants on vinyl; transparent green vinyl with red splatter, and solid white vinyl. Both vinyl versions can be pre-ordered at this location.
• »Adult Lobotomy« (Crazysane Records, 2018)
• »Holocene« (Lövely Records, 2020)
• »Black Arcs Rising« (Lövely Records, 2023)
Johan Sellman – Vocals, Guitar
Magnus Egerbladh Öberg – Drums
Henrik Wiklund – Bass, vocals
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For fans of Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth, Fugazi, Quicksand, Refused, Jawbox, Far, Handsome, Girls Against Boys, Sense Field, Hum, Drive Like Jehu
Courtesy of Lövely Records // Almost Religious
Bojan Bidovc // music enthusiast, promoter, misanthrop and sometimes a journalist as well