According to my Swedish friend, Sally, Bruce Springsteen was something of a music icon in that particular part of Scandinavia during the late ’80s/early ’90s, and although he’s been popping up all over the indie music scene in the States as an influence recently, it’s been hard to spot his fingerprints on any Swede’s frosty pop. Malmo’s The Perishers, for better or worse, are the first band to come across my review pile as being indebted to The Boss.
Springsteen’s influence on this set of songs comes mostly in grafting folk/country instruments into a rock solid arrangement. Tracks like “My Own” and “To Start Anew” crackle and groove on a melancholy folksiness courtesy of banjo, Hammond organ, and Byrds-ian guitar leads. Upping the rock quotient, “Carefree” practically lifts serrated guitar riffs and the bass line note-for-note from U2’s “New Year’s Day.”
It’s not all stellar homage, unfortunately, as the band sinks into the tropes of brooding and listless contemporary Brit rock, where the riffs are limp-wristed and bathed in self-reflective echo. It’s a prime background to drop high school poetry like “Am I a fool to be asking for/ a fool to wish that we could be more/ than just friends?” This kind of shallow introspection ends up turning Victorious into somewhat of a lame duck and a far cry from attaining any sort of claim at being the Swedish E-Street Band.