The Austin Chronicle

ACL Fest Interviews

By Greg Beets, September 17, 2004, Music

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

Saturday 1pm, SBC stage
Founded a decade ago in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Soundtrack of Our Lives deftly combines road-honed chops, hook-laden songs, and an encyclopedic reverence for the vinyl apparitions of pop's past to construct a jukebox juggernaut that's comfortably familiar without being too obvious. According to guitarist Mattias Bärjed, Randy Bachman of BTO and Guess Who fame deserves some of the credit.

"If you hear a song like 'American Woman,' and you listen to the solo, the whole tone of it has such character, warmth, and personality," Bärjed asserts. "He's really an underrated guitarist who should get more recognition."

While Bachman isn't the first influence bubbling to the surface in TSOOL's music, listeners can pick up hints of everyone from Pink Floyd and Love to T. Rex and the Stooges.

"We're not wanting to be a retro band," says Bärjed. "We have a lot of influences. As long as it's good music and you like it, it can affect you whether it's new or old."

The group's first two albums, 1996's Welcome to the Infant Freebase and 1998's Extended Revelation for the Psychic Weaklings of Western Civilization, are as expansive and exploratory as their titles imply. The septet landed its knockout punch on the third try with 2001's Behind the Music. Initially released on Hidden Agenda, the album was picked up by Universal in 2002, eventually garnering a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album. Their packed 2002 appearance at SXSW was one of that year's most talked-about showcases.

After three years on the road, TSOOL is now back in the studio working on its fourth album, slated for release in February 2005.

"All the touring we've done for Behind the Music has affected the songwriting and the way we're playing, so I think the new album is a bit more as the live shows are," Bärjed says. "It's a bit more aggressive, and some parts of it are more like punk rock. I'm really, really happy with it."

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