Fredrik Lindkvist, mostly known as the former singer and frontman of Swedish hardcore band Totalt Jävla Mörker, has signed to Lövely records. Under the artist name Fred Lee & The Restless, he will release his solo debut album Sleepwalking in Daylight in June 2021. “Fred” has already released three singles in the lead-up to his debut album, each very different – and the album itself continues this wacky approach! Fredrik can usually be seen screaming his lungs out in various hardcore and punk constellations – Totalt Jävla Mörker being the most famous one. This project, however, is something completely different. Traditional storytelling, and traditional story-telling, bittersweet vocal melodies, clean guitar licks, all performed with the lyricism and subversiveness of punk, combine to give a colourful and novel take on folk-rock!
His approach to songwriting is rooted in the darker spectrum of underground culture, yet expressed with colorful and heartwarming ambiance. The result is a unique take on folk-rock, defined by captivating lyrics and distinct melodies. Capturing the feeling of a live performance, Sleepwalking in Daylight was recorded in two days, after only four rehearsal sessions together with Fredrik’s studio backup band. “If the recording felt right, we simply kept it” Fredrik comments.
For me, the album recalls the hey-day of New Model Army, with a touch of the Long Riders, in that each song tells a story, each song has a catchy riff / chord progression and good melody – it’s what you might call contemporary folk-rock, as sometimes espoused by The Clash, Billy Bragg – and by some favourites of mine, Stevie Jones and The Wildfires (reviewed in the VT predecessor’s “CRS Rock Society” hard-copy pages a couple of years ago).
Sleepwalking in Daylight contains 10 tracks. While the sound is heavily influenced by folk-rock, there’s something undoubtedly subversive in Fredrik’s expressions. His background in the punk movement is clearly demonstrated on tracks like “Capitalist Market”, “These Times Are so Fucking Dark”, and on the album opener “Who Do You Want to Be”, which immediately sets the mood of the album with the opening line “Dressed up to the first of May march….”. Other songs are whimsical by comparison, gentle melodies, finger-pickin’ good! The point being they’re all nicely composed, with rattling pace, solid production and performance from the rest of the band, simply enjoyable. Devil’s Chokehold encapsulates this, traditional verse/chorus/verse/bridges/verse/chorus and thoroughly listenable.
Between the years 1997 to 2017, Fredrick’s “day-band” Totalt Jävla Mörker released 4 full-length albums as well as 4 EPs and became well-known for their dark, bitter, dystopian sound and most often political lyrics. Parallel to the years in Totalt Jävla Mörker, Fredrik played drums in punk outfit Knugen Faller and guitar in indie-rock constellation Royal Downfall. Fredrik is the current singer of hardcore band RIWEN, he’s also active in classic punk rock band Sista Brytet. He’s a busy guy, and he wears his heart on his sleeve, saying “I love punk, and I love how it has shaped me as an individual. The do-it-yourself spirit has always been there, whatever type of musical project I’ve been a part of.”
Parallel to the years of screaming and playing in punk bands, Fredrik became more interested in singer-songwriter and storytelling traditions. With a love for Billy Bragg, Frank Turner, Brian Fallon, Bruce Springsteen and early soul music, a new set of songs started taking shape. During the summer of 2019, on a long train ride somewhere in Sweden, Fredrik decided to do something with these songs. He came up with a band name, decided on who should be part of his backup band, and established a simple philosophy; honest music straight from the heart, that sounds live even when captured on record. Once he arrived at his destination, Fred Lee & The Restless were born.
Fredrick’s final comment on the album? “I hope that the people listening to this record realizes that I’m more than just hardcore. Maybe even get an insight into my life.”
Tell you what, he’s an interesting guy – and no mean singer-songwriter-storyteller!