January 7, 2022

Swedish retro-rock band Children of the Sün will release their sophomore studio album “Roots” on 18th March 2022.

Inspired by Janis Joplin, Rival Sons, and the free lovin’ spirit of 1969’s legendary Woodstock Festival, Children of the Sün embody both the carefree and reflective sides of classic rock music. Following their 2018 success in the Swedish music competition Livekarusellen, the band released a self-titled EP and later came under the wing of The Sign Records, joining acts such as Hällas, MaidaVale, Skraeckoedlan, and The Hawkins.

Children of the Sün: Josefina Berglund Ekholm (lead vocals); Ottilia Berglund Ekholm (choir); Wilma Ås (choir, keys); Jacob Hellenrud (guitar); Ida Wahl (bass); Johan Lööf (drums).

In 2019 the band released their first full-length album Flowers which received great reviews across Scandanavia, the vinyl version selling out just weeks after the release.

The song “Her Game” from their debut was chosen by the Swedish nationwide newspaper Aftonbladet in their list of best rock songs of 2019. Since then the band have played on festivals and stages around Sweden including Arvika Hamnfest, Festival Of The Midnight Sun, Putte i Parken, The Sign fest and hosted their own show in a barn out in the woods together with drummer Björn Fryklund (Freak Kitchen) Earlier this year they supported Trummor & Orgel on their tour.  

The six member group’s second full length production is the natural progression from the debut. While the sound is refined and structurally more direct, the Woodstock-loving hippie-spirit of the band shines on the thirteen new tracks. With a retro sound and soulful, multi layered vocal harmonies, Roots reflects a journey through life towards finding oneself, with songs about ups and downs, love and hate, light and darkness (all the usual stuff!).

The band comment: “On your journey through life you grow like a tree. Everything that you have been, who you are right now and who you may become, once started with your roots”. True enough!

In between times, members of the band also partook of a “twin” project, Nephila, releasing a critically applauded album in 2021 after winning the 2019 version of the Livekarusellen competition! This inter-connectedness begins to be almost on a par with the superbly complicated family tree and exploits of the celebrated Welsh 70’s rockers Man! Nephila’s sound is not unlike C.O.T.S. (check out the video for Belladonna on the Velvet Thunder review for Nephila dated 15 April 2021). Even the two album covers look very similar, they’re from the same stable, Revolver Design, who has also previously provided artwork for Alter Bridge.

But back to Roots: The album opens with Reflection, a slow bluesy ballad reminiscent of The Four Non-Blonde’s “What’s Up”. It builds up to a cracking lead solo before fading gracefully away – a very promising start! Leaves is next, a heavier rocky sound but still with that mix of ballad and beef. In a sense, the multi-layered vocals have a touch of Abba about them, albeit within the ever-present retro-rock sound. Next up is Blood Boils Hot, continuing that darker, heavier, slow-pounding sound – but still massively tuneful.

I have to say at this point that Josephina’s lead vocals are so, so powerful – again hints of Janis Joplin, 4 Non-Blondes, heavier hints of the English 70’s folk-rocker Carolanne Pegg, and particularly Jo’s fellow Swede Lisa Lystam from the similarly retro band Heavy Feather. It’s been a particularly great year for female lead singer performances! Gaslighting underlines this power, aided and abetted by some scorching heavy blues guitar work. Eden follows, a gentle, pastoral ballad, with lovely melodies that this band seem to be able to write in their sleep – eat your heart out Abba!

The start of the title track could be one of those dark English folk-rock tales reminiscent of the 70’s before it launches into an altogether beefier but also prog-rock arrangement. Fast paced, nice percussion before jangly guitar and finally scorching vocals seal what is an all-round great composition! Man In The Moon is then another folk-inspired acoustic number. It revs up towards the end but remains essentially folky and beautifully mixed.

The Soul is almost Gospel (natch), crossed with a Musical show! Entertaining anyway. In Silva has a real feel of early Heart – or Doobie Brothers almost! – about it, another acoustic number reinforcing that overall retro feel to the production. Thunder is (of course) a track where they let their hair down and boogie – again Heart-style. There’s a pacey riff – vocal duel to start with, before an assured percussive bridge section snakes around your lobes, accompanied by a swooping choral touch. Reaching For Sun then is semi-instrumental in a hazy, eastern, almost “lounge-lizard” style (I love it!) before the vocals swoop in. For me, the strongest track on an already strong album. The closer, Epilogue, is precisely that, a choral, pastoral, end-of-the-day sign-off complete with bird-song.

As with their “partners” Nephila, I am intrigued by these guys – although the sense of hippiness dominates – as does the sheer power of Josephina’s voice – the quality of the song-writing and musicianship is impeccable. My light-hearted aside about Abba really does have relevance, there must be something in the water in Sweden whereby beautiful melodies just tumble down from the mountains! There’s a joyous sense of having fresh fun within an old-school style of rock that really appeals to me – keep it up guys, I look forward to their next “Collective Production”!

The video below is from their earlier work in 2019, but gives you a good idea of the band’s abilities:

Roots was recorded in Church Bay Records in Arvika, Sweden. It was mixed by the band´s guitarist and mastered by Hans Olsson at Svenska Grammofon Studion (Graveyard, Soundtrack of our lives, The Hives). Roots is released on CD, Vinyl and digital formats on the 18th of March, 2022, on The Sign Records.