War On Sound Mini Album

Hidden Agenda

At 40+ minutes, War On Sound is a pretty generous offering for a “mini album.” Considering the disc acts as a stopgap between the band’s previous release, The Orange Billboard, and their forthcoming effort, it’s quite a feat that this doesn’t feel like water being tread or recording studio waste baskets emptied. It’s all high-quality stuff, starting with an edited version of the title track. The song is destined to find its way onto their future full-length in uncut form, but the pared down offering here is awfully close to ideal. It grinds like a pop buzzsaw, tearing with teeth of near perfect hooks; it feels muscular without forsaking playfulness or the hope in the lyrics. The track sets the stage for the even harder-edged “Ghost of Love.” With its overwhelming electronic pulse and marching beat, the music on this track betrays the turbulent emotions wrung from a broken relationship.

The most interesting inclusions in this collection are the two seemingly random choices of cover songs: Midnight Oil’s “Fields of Warburton” and Pink Floyd’s “Arnold Layne.” Both are easily bent to fit the band’s minimalist, electronically-flavored formula. The former works slightly better, simply because Moonbabies wear the darkly-tinged new wave mantle better than bug-eyed woozy psychedelica — though Carina Johansson’s smooth and wispy feminine vocals on “Arnold Layne” ensure it’s still a standout. The group rounds out the disc with a handful of forgettable, but fun instrumentals. “Don’t Shoot the Ranger” lifts the riff — you know the one — from the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane,” but at least Moonbabies have the presence of mind to go for the full-bore homage and interlace it with the delicate fingerpicking of that band’s self-titled album. For those looking to explore Swedish pop, War On Sound should serve as an excellent primer for this band and a decent springboard towards the many other great Scandinavian bands out there.


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