Dusted Reviews

The Works - The Works

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: The Works

Album: The Works

Label: Subliminal Sounds

Review date: May. 22, 2005

The Works could have titled their debut Déjà vu. This Swedish quintet from Stockholm are label mates to Dungen, and both truck in a neo-psychedelia that hews too close to the original, making both groups sound stuck in a time warp. Hemmed in by an obvious enthusiasm for a bygone era, neither group can outrun their influences.

The Works is a pastiche of the late '60s and early '70s hallmarks: organ swells, octopus drumming, acid-wail guitars, vague lyrics about mind-altering experiences, bass that slides around the beat, droning violins. The album art cannot escape the trappings of the Age of Aquarius, either. The lettering is liquid and distorted. Pictures show the band barefoot in the grass, hanging out in trees, all bordered by baroque, multicolored swirls.

The band packs the songs with plenty of bombast and volume, mirroring the mix of over-charged drive, songwriting and instrumental chops of groups like Quicksilver Messenger Service and Moby Grape. In the first 40 seconds of "Everybody," one gets guitar feedback, acoustic riffing, bluesy harmonica, a piano vamp and vocals delivered at the top of singer Andreas Stellan's range. What they lack is the R&B swagger of the original psych bands, a swagger that came from being reared on the likes of Bo Diddley and the Blues. QSM, The Grateful Dead, The Who and others generated excitement because they were bending, breaking and extending these familiar forms, spurred on by a milieu soaked in such experimentation.

"I Saw the Ocean" comes close to this groove, chugging along with spastic slop drumming, punchy organ, relentless acoustic chords, and tourettic electric guitar moaning. For "The Tale," the group fuses energy with ambition to create an intricate multipart piece.

Yet such dynamic changes go missing on the rest of the disc. "Not the Same" shoots its load by immediately launching into a wall of sound. Guitarist Martin Fogelström laces every tune with his strangled sonics, and the arrangements lack space and contrast, marked by the constant presence of stacks of keyboards, bass and drums. There's no tension, no sense of impending explosion.

When they attempt to introduce some drama, they indulge in some tired, obvious effects. On "The Tale," the music crescendoes as they sing, "lifts up into the sky." On "Speak Your Mind," they succumb to a not-so-subtle drug reference. Accentuated by flickering volume on the guitar, Stellan sings, "There's still time to get high." And just in case we didn't catch the reference, they sing it again. Déjà vu.

By Matthew Wuethrich

Read More

View all articles by Matthew Wuethrich

Find out more about Subliminal Sounds

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.