Tick-Tocking Rocker

Swedish rockers? you just know what they’re going to look like, right? lots of beautiful teased-out hair, jeans artfully ripped in all the places that jeans don’t really rip in real life*, cheekbones you could cut yourself on.  So here’s Graveyard.

Graveyard Lights Out 06
Marginally less glam than me. Fact!

I bought their 2012 album Lights Out in the fabulous tangled Parrot record shop in Carmarthen, I was seduced by the old-style rock aesthetic of the cover and half-remembered good reviews of their previous album Hisingen Blues.  The cover is slightly reminiscent of Uriah Heep’s Look At Yourself and I rather like the cool**, dark and creepy taxidermy of the inside cover.  Not a monster, spiky logo or busty beauty (cartoon or real) to be seen – good.

Graveyard Lights Out 01

The old-style aesthetic is directly comparable to the music here.  Graveyard do have a pretty unique sound, for a start for a hard rock band they don’t sound particularly guitar-driven, the instruments my tired old ears picks out as the dominant ones are bass and vocals – which is not to say there isn’t some very tasty axe work here and there, just that it never overshadows the band as an ensemble.  The songs on Lights Out feel old, organic – a product of a bygone age in a way that conjures up Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and UFO*^ at times, but never in a slavish way.  There are some really quite different, quite interesting sounds here, Lights Out has not been written to fit in with any genre, any pre-conceived ideas of ‘heavy’, it just is.

Graveyard Lights Out 02

Examples? You want examples? You dare ask me, 1537, to prove it? Foolish mortal! Okay then try the closer, ’20/20 (Tunnel Vision)’ for size.  There’s a touch of Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac here, just a touch, in this gently sung tale of fighting alcoholism; complete with a rousing finale and some subtle Rhodes touches.  Or cue up the pumping ‘Goliath’ if you want some harder rock kicks, that’s a fine rhythm section driving this tune and when it gets louder later on it never loses sight of the song for the sake of the volume – take that capitalists!

I'm quite proud of this one
I’m quite proud of this one

You need more? it’ll come as no surprise at all that Graveyard are able to turn in a brilliant ballad in ‘Hard Times Lovin”, which if we ignore some slightly wonky lyrics^ is an absolute belter and I would say could claim to be a distant cousin, out-of-wedlock, of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’.  It is sung to perfection too by Joakim Nilsson (I think) and the playing is bang on the money hitting the mark between emotion and melodrama just right – if you’re inclined to try a single track on Spotify, I’d suggest this one; even if you’re not a big soft sap like me.

It’s not all so great though I’m afraid.  In my opinion the sequencing isn’t all it could be, I’d swop sides around straight away – it’s funny how some LPs can be improved like that.  For years the only copy I had of Shake Your Money Maker was one where my friend had accidentally taped the sides in the wrong order for me, I think it’s much better – I can’t listen to it right end up now.  But I digress, the songs just don’t seem as strong on Side 1 of Lights Out, although I do like the tick-tocking rocker ‘An Industry Of Murder’ and the title ‘The Suits, The Law & The Uniforms’.

B-side wins again
B-side wins again

Graveyard Lights Out 04

I’m pleased I stepped into the Graveyard, you wouldn’t want to live there necessarily but it’s a good place to go and hang out in with your mates, occasionally.  I hope I haven’t made it sound like a hastily assembled collage of antique rock trick tracks, it is much better than that, at its best, a carefully crafted set of songs. That’s all you need.

And they’re not a glam band. At all.

506 Down.

*which I can exclusively reveal, following years of scientific research carried out under strict laboratory conditions, is basically exactly the right places to expose your knees and knackers to the world.

**but fucking difficult to photograph!

*^Lights Out?

^Hey, Graveyard’s English is a MF lot better than my Swedish, but a lack of idiom does show slightly at times and they just use too many words here and there.

34 thoughts on “Tick-Tocking Rocker

      1. And don’t forget the Uriah Heep reference in David Copperfield – you just couldn’t buy that level of publicity today. Dickens really knew his rock.

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  1. I’ve listened to some Graveyard. Not this album, but one or two before. My record store guy told me to give ’em a shot. Not much for those hard rockin’ ballads, but everything else(bell bottoms, facial hair, the smell of skunk weed in the air) I dig.

    You mentioning old Fleetwood Mac made me think of “The Green Manalishi”. I heard their version this past week and was blown away. First, because I’d never heard it. Second, I thought Judas Priest wrote it(their version of Unleashed In The East is tasty as hell.) I shall never underestimate Peter Green again.

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      1. Never mind impressive, not fair is the descriptor I’d choose!

        By the way, let more hard rockin, ballads into your life – there’s nothing wrong with a man sobbing along to Poison!

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      2. “there’s nothing wrong with a man sobbing along to Poison!” -said a sobbing man to no one that cared

        Cinderella had a way with a good ballad. “Don’ Know Whatca Got(Till It’s Gone)”, I can get a little wistful over. And TNTs “Child’s Play” off Tell No Tales? Makes me feel like a heartbroken 14 year old still to this day.

        But sobbing? Never!

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  2. Hmmm. I dare say I would have bought this one if I’d spotted it. The text and front cover would have been enough to sell it. Not to mention that shot of the band – those dudes look like they rock!

    … and good glowing bulbhead shot (you should be sending some o’ this work to Pixar).

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    1. Their faces wouldn’t look out of place on Mount Rushmore – oh did someone do that already?

      Thank you the bulb-guy photos worked out fine, I was pleased with them.

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      1. It is one of the more homoerotic LP covers in my collection that one – he was about 18 at the time too. I might give it a spin tonight, I’ve not played it in ages.

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