Innocence & Decadence
Practice makes perfect, now ain’t that true. Nine years and four albums in, Graveyard is as close to perfection since their universally-acclaimed sophomore effort, Hisingen Blues. With the release of Innocence and Decadence, the Swedish four-piece has found a way to expand their sound out of the 70’s rock rut so many bands are driving towards and piling on top of though they do not lose sight of the vision that made them stand out from the rest of the crowd in the first place. The rambunctious “Magnetic Shunk” kicks things off, a heavy boogie which alludes to dirty love that will encourage one to put on their dancing shoes. This romp is followed by the album’s first single, “The Apple and the Tree,” a reflection on the simplicity of childhood and the complications of maturing. The somber opening chords of “Exit 97” propels the band into familiar yet hauntingly beautiful territory. The crescendo leading into the chorus is perfectly complemented by masterful vocal harmonies and a particularly sinister organ. The shadowy hands that pull invisible strings are the next topic tackled in “Never Theirs to Sell,” an incredibly short ode to the powers that be, a subject Graveyard heavily touch on in their previous work. “Can’t Walk Out” becomes lyrically silly at times, but has a very vague Hellacopters vibe to it as well as a polished production, which pushes the song into another universe. While Side A certainly seems like business as usual for these Scandinavian rock and rollers, the second single off the album, “Too Much is Not Enough,” is a poignant ballad about love gone bad, a subject while cliche, is one a fair share of people can relate to. Accompanied by what can only be a choir of angels and an especially pious organ, this is new but extremely exciting ground for a band that spends most of their time singing about Satan and Big Brother. Founding member Truls Morck takes up vocal duties on “From A Hole in the Wall,” an uptempo rocker about watching the world from afar while guitarist Jonathan Ramm debuts his soul-drenched voice for “Far Too Close.” The LP ends on a minimalist yet incredibly emotional note with Joakim Nilsson, his guitar and a delicate keyboard. Many fans will no doubt be torn into the camp that either supports the direction or violently opposes it. Though in the end, it does not really matter as Graveyard will continue in whichever direction they choose, be it forward, slightly backward or shifting side to side. The dynamics, production and songwriting certainly points toward forward motion.