Released: 2004, Ant Nest Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Svarte Pan is a band based in Malmö, Sweden that released their debut album SOV GOTT in 2002. After a lot of touring through Scandinavia the guys have gathered to make a follow up. Svarte Pan have a reputation of being a very strong live act, which they really are, because all of the guys are really skilled musicians.
The band consists of 4 guys with the very charismatic singer Björn Holmdén as the frontman. They have chosen to sing in Swedish which, I have said before, limits the market for the music but on the other hand if it’s well played good music it doesn’t matter in what language it’s sung in.
I would describe Svarte Pan’s music as a mix of 70’s hard rock and Swedish 70’s progressive rock. Sometimes the hard rock influences is greatest, or perhaps stoner rock. Sometimes progressive rock is the main focus. The guys have an extraordinary feeling for the lyrics and for playing with words. It’s mostly Björn who writes the lyrics and he handles the Swedish language brilliantly.
Have these guys succeeded with the production then? Well I saw them live at their release party and live they sounded heavier, harder and the 70’s hard rock was more prominent compared to what it sounds like on the album. The album sounds more polished and more commercial compared to the bands live and on their debut. I really thought that this album was going to sound more like they do live, especially when they have produced it by themselves. There’s nothing wrong with the production but as I said I had expected a harder sound.
The band runs through 10 tracks. One is a cover of “Moss Och Manniskor” by a famous dead actor named Allan Edwall. All of the members have contributed with songs but most of the music and lyrics are written by Björn and the guitarist Conny.
The songs that stands out a bit more are “Det Var En Man” which is a musical mix between 70’s hard rock and Swedish 70’s progressive rock with a lot of tempo changes through it. Lead vocals and guitar are at the top of the mix. Conny has the chance to show of what he can do and Björn shows all of his voice register from whispering vocals to ordinary vocals. This song sure has the potential to become a radio hit. The song fades straight into the next song which is “Min Van”. This track is also 70’s hard rock influenced by Swedish 70’s progressive rock, but also Swedish traditional folk music. Conny contributes with very impressive and varied guitar play. Björn repeats the chorus to infinity before he uses the harmonica once again, which he by the way handles with grace.
“Balladen Om Lillebror” is a heavy grinding 70’s hard rock track where Conny plays the biggest part in the soundscape. At the end of the song Pelle does a short drum solo. In “Sarkare” Conny does a brilliant guitar solo and this song is very sing a long friendly, to say the least. Those songs are the strongest ones.
The other tracks feel a bit weaker and somewhat unbalanced in their quality. “Moss Och Manniskor” feels very spaced out and doesn’t impresses at all. The albums feels over-produced, somewhat commercial and too polished compared to what they sound like live. Also, the cover doesn’t reflect what’s going on in the album.
The positive things are that they have some really strong songs and a guitarist that is excellent. They also have a really stable rhythm section and a great charismatic singer. They are really hard to beat as a live act and they are in fact one of the better live acts in Sweden right now.
Now it’s time to hit the road again but the line-up have gone through some changes with the leaving of the drummer. The last gig he did with Svarte Pan was the release party in late 2004 and I don’t know who is going to replace him at the moment.