Earlier this year, I wrote about the Umea, Sweden-based post-punk quintet INVSN, an act comprised of some of Sweden’s most accomplished musicians — including Dennis Lyxzen (vocals), a founding member and frontman of Refused, and a former member of The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Lost Patrol Band, AC4, and who has collaborated with The Bloody Beetroots and others; Sara Almgrem (bass, vocals), a member of The Doughnuts, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Vicious and Masshysteri; Andres Sternberg (guitar, keyboards), a member of Deportees, The Lost Patrol Band and a member of Lykke Li’s backing band; Andre Sandström (drums, percussion), a member of Ds-13, The Vicious, The Lost Patrol Band, Ux Vileheads and others; and Christina Karlsson (keyboards, vocals), a member of Tiger Forest Cat, Honungsvägen and Frida Serlander‘s backing band. And interestingly enough, the members of the band are five, long-term friends, with Lyxzen in particular being known for a lengthy career incorporating sociopolitical themes into his work; in fact, as Lyxzen has publicly explained, “Music always meant more to me then just entertainment. It has had a profound impact on everything that I am as a person and I see music as art and art as life. We live in a world devoid of meaning where we serve the lowest common denominator at all times. Where politics as an idea has failed us and where art is being reduced to consumerism and clickbait.”
The band’s initial recordings were written and recorded with lyrics in their native Swedish under the name Invasionen, but when the members of the band decided that it was time to take the project and their work internationally, they felt that writing and singing lyrics in English, along with a new name would be necessary — and they settled on INVSN. Regardless of the name or the language, the post-punk band has always had a political message — and during this particular moment, when humanistic, Enlightenment values and thinking are being challenged by extreme right wing and extreme religious movements across the world, the members of INVSN strongly believe that their music, and the work of other like-minded musicians are part of a necessary and urgent outcry from a counterculture that has yet to give up. And while being righteously angry, their overall approach is rooted in the belief that change is gonna come — and it’s going to come real soon.
The Swedish band’s latest effort The Beautiful Stories is slated for release on Friday, and the album was recorded and produced by by Adam “Atom” Greenspan, best known for his work with Nick Cave and The Veils at Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg, Sweden. Reportedly, the album finds the band experimenting and expanding their aesthetic and songwriting approach with material that possesses elements of post-punk, industrial electronica, indie rock and indie pop, which gives their sociopolitical concerns an accessible, almost radio-friendly vibe.
Now, as you may recall “I Dreamt Music” was a decidedly post-punk leaning song, sounding as though it drew influence from Joy Division and Gang of Four, thanks to the song’s decided politically charged tone. And as Lyxzen explained in press notes, “I wanted to write about the longing for resistance to the cultural/political/musical landscape that holds us imprisoned. I wanted to write about the naive, romantic and pretentious notion that music and art should be about ideas that can change and transform and maybe even be the beacon of hope in these dismal times.” And as a result, the song manages to possesses a sense of cynicism and distrust and an equal bit of outrage.”
Interestingly enough, Beautiful Stories’ latest single “This Constant War” finds the band pairing jangling, Country-leaning guitar chords, layers of buzzing electronics and a propulsive rhythm section with boy/girl harmonies and a soaring, swooning hook in a song that sounds a bit like Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby-era U2 but filtered through Primal Scream, New Order and Ministry, while nodding at The Lonely Wild, as the material possesses a cinematic yet yearning quality at its core.
The recently released video for “This Constant War” features the members of the band passionately singing the song or broodingly staring off into space as the hands of an unseen person smears colored paint onto the faces and bodies of the bandmembers.