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Svarte Pan: Nattvandring

So you thought the Woodstock era was over? Remember the free loving, hard rocking, carefree 1960s – we'll never see them again, right? Well with Svarte Pan'a Nattvandring you can re-live a part of that era for 53 minutes.

Seeing this band live must be a blast. Their music is hard-edged, well played, very old-fashioned, guitar-led rawk – foot-tapping, hard-driving stuff that dips a toe tentatively into today's not-so-progressive stoner-rock genre. The tone is in-your-face, rebellious and defiant, and cocks a snoot at modern day attempts to over-refine music.

The first time you spin it you'll be amused at the retro-styled introduction and, and you're waiting for the more modern music to kick in. Nope – what you hear is what you get and that retro thing stays with you clear to the end – the 1960s music style, the guitar/drum-led mix, the nice solos that aren't really special but have a head nodding appeal, and sadly, the very retro production quality. Don't expect a huge amount of sophistication, but do expect to have fun. Think Stones meets Sabbath by way of early-day Purple, played against a backdrop of bluesy southern rock. The only thing that jars you out of Woodstock's Hudson valley and into a different time-space continuum is the fact that the vocals are all sung in Swedish. So if you aren't a Swede and you don't have a babel fish in your ear, ignore the lyrics and just enjoy the vibe. And don't expect much help from the CD's booklet – that also requires translation.

Track 5 "Gravsång" is an acoustic, folksy piece with a different appeal – listen for the choral vocals backing up the soft acoustic guitar / soft lead guitar mix. It is out of step with the rest of the album, and the only thing wrong with it is its brief 2-minute duration. Longer woulda been nicer. Listen also to the delicate guitar work in "Sov Gott" and tell me your mind is still in the present. This stuff forces you into a time capsule.

So cast your mind back, ignore the lyrics and wallow in the mood.

Track Listing:
1. Det Var En Man
2. Min Vän
3. Vill Ha
4. Balladen Om Lillebror
5. Gravsång
6. Starkare
7. Möss Och Människor
8. Dårarnas Palats
9. Sov Gott
10 Drömmar

Added: February 20th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Svarte Pan's Web Site
Hits: 3718
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Svarte Pan: Nattvandring
Posted by Yves Dubé, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-02-20 21:56:40
My Score:

Blues rock from Sweden conjures up images of…well… no one really. There's a good reason for that. Americans and Brits have so dominated this genre over the years that they've left some mighty big shoes to fill. I tried to keep this in mind when I tackled this sophomore effort from SvartePan .

One unique spin which is immediately noticeable is the inclusion of Swedish vocals. I will give them points for that particularly brave move. However, the mostly flat vocal delivery, when combined with the atonal utterances of the Swedish tongue, make this endeavor a hit-and-miss affair which may take some getting used to. The music, on the other hand is solid, although it doesn't score too many points in the originality department. The band does manage to lay down some tasty riffs, punctuated with improvisational flourishes, and doesn't drown in a sea of distortion.

I'm not sure how well all of this will translate at the cash register. I'm not convinced that this band can find an audience outside their native Sweden. This is a decent effort but not one that jumps out at the listener. Your mileage will definitely vary with this disc.

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