For anyone familiar with the Swedish Prog movement of the ’60s/’70s, this album will feel both familiar and completely new. The songs have a distinctive feeling where jam session- like soundscapes are balanced with exquisitely well-written melodies…..Onda Blommor is the third album by Swedish rock band Jättedam. Inspired by a wide variety of musical styles ranging from psychedelic pop, kraut rock, punk, soul and new wave and mixing it with a unique touch of Swedish vocals, the band stands out from most contemporary acts.
Jättedam became a band when Jonathan Källstedt, Christoffer Norén, Johanna Björnler and Madeleine Jonsson started playing together in 2013. They added a couple of members to test some different ideas about what they could do with music that didn’t resemble the music that they’d played up until then. which was more punk and rock oriented. After a couple of member changes, it became natural that Emil Nilsson and Mattias Sundin would continue in the band. They started playing frequently in Stockholm, which led to them recording with Alex Gaticca and David wiltz who had seen the band live and wanted to record them in their home-built studio in Järfälla.
The debut album was recorded whilst the band gradually moved away from Flen to Gothenburg, and it was released as Om någon frågar så har vi aldrig existerat , Gothenburg providing a ready audience for what they were doing. The follow-up was recorded in 2017 in two weekends, then the band spent about 8-10 months learning how to mix it! When it eventually came out in November 2018 as eftersom ingen frågade, the then Editor-in-Chief at Gaffa, Daniel Horn, wrote in his review of the self-produced record: “In short: this is the most interesting Swedish psychedelic rock right now”
Plans for a third album started soon after, but personnel changes and different directions led to a hiatus until 2022 when Jattedam signed with Gaphals and Onda Blommor was created and released. The music is soaked in a distinctly hippy-ish “summer evenings and lazy days” vibe, with a dreamy undertone in the sound but a story that is more serious. All the songs are recorded straight onto tape, Jättedam liking an unfiltered spound that is an expression of whatever absurd fantasies, fantastic pretensions, soul-heavy burdens, clear insights, insatiable curiosities may come their way. Join the band and explore Onda Blommor.
The band tell the tale: “We had tried during 2020-2021 to complete an album that we played live, but since we recorded it in our rehearsal room, it became difficult to say “Now it’s finished” because we could always do a new version tomorrow. So it was just a new version of the album every month. It didn’t quite work for us. Jättedam is a bit of a dysfunctional family, and always has been. It always becomes chaotic in one way or another when we do things together, but something also grows out of it that feels peculiar.”
“We play a rather trippy kind of rock music so there is a lot of room for expressing a broad range of lyrical styles. I try to write personal, but not TOO personal. For me, the kick of the total omission is greater than what is necessary for the world the listener is in when listening to our music. It should, as it were, lift you a little above the everyday state of mind.”
Het Temp is featured in the video below, and for me isn’t one of the stronger tracks on the album, it feels more experimental than most of the accompanying numbers. I guess not understanding the Swedish lyrics doesn’t help. Onda Blommor is quite spacey, in fact downright spaced-out and dreamy – and quite beautifully played! This is totally mesmeric, and I ought to point out that I’m writing this at 10:00 in the morning and not under the influence of anything stronger than a cup of coffee! Battre Inget is quite short and follows in the same vein.
Louie Sade on the other hand is a complete revelation, a luscious, fairly upbeat mix of loping bass (one of their trademarks across this song-set), gently jazzy guitar lines and smooth harmonies. Trippy still, but a really strong number. Halla and Likkistan both feature echoey, hugely 60’s choral harmonies that don’t always work for me…
Prognos is a little different, more bluesy, but still with that hippy-beat, bongos and bass being the focal counterpoint to the vocals – which are consistently smooth, melodious, a sort of Swedish Beach Boys is the best description I can give! There’s some tastefully edgy guitar work on this as well! Aprikos rounds off the selection with further clean melodies, a lovely rhythm arrangement, a real sense of jazz-prog.
Jättedam look way, way too young to be able to carry off this pean to the 60’s, but they manage it with considerable aplomb! All in all, this album is soaked in the Spirit of ’68, with very live, one-take jazzy jam sessions, I found myself picturing old Eastmancolour films with VC10’s flying into the sunset and touching down in some sun-soaked South of France destination! Despite the sense of spaced out hippydom, this ensemble are musically VERY taut and the production perfectly captures their dreamy arrangements – I cant imagine their early punky days! It might not be for everyone but I’ve enjoyed listening to them and I wish them Happy Daze!
“Onda Blommor” is released by Gaphals on vinyl and all streaming platforms on the first of September, 2023.