From the ruins of Masshysteri remains Robert Hurula, singer and guitarist for the lauded Swedish punk outfit. Masshysteri waded in the pop waters, while Hurula dives headfirst into the deep end of upbeat, keyboard-driven pop rock. Like label-mates Fucked Up, genres are conflated and the production is crisp. I’m also reminded of fellow Swedes Vånna Inget, whose latest record, Ingen Botten, is a similarly brooding tapestry of no wave hits. Hurula’s guitars swish and swoop like wayward specters, while the sparse rhythms on the hi-hat and snare conjure The Cure. His croon is transported right out of the ‘80s, however. The untranslated lyrics make for some garbled singalongs during the morning commute, although contagious choruses transcend all languages. The pulsing keys of “Sluta deppa mig” are hypnotic, while “Sveriges ungdom” instigates some boogieing by doubling the pace and ramping up the post-punk grandiosity. Closer “Det är ok om du glömmer mig” hardwires into my limbic system with scientific precision, leaving my brain fizzing from the emotional surge as the guitars shriek until the final crash. Hurula’s first LP is a rare pop rock classic with all of the vulnerability, passion, and urgency of a fierce punk band. Highly recommended.
–Sean Arenas (Deranged)