It’s been a prolific period for "Sveriges största rockband" Kent. Hardly any time has passed since the release of "Röd" but just a few months later here they are, back again with their latest album. After the cold, stark electronic sound which characterised their last two albums, "En Plats i Solen" sees the band return to more conventional instrumentation and the result is, dare I say it, their most "pop" album yet.
Even the cover is different from the typical, distinctive Kent album sleeve - it looks more like a compilation album of 80s summer love songs, or maybe that’s just my weird take on it :)
Further evidence of this is the appearance of "Skisser för Sommaren" in the top 10 most played tracks on Swedish radio last week - they haven’t had an ‘airplay hit’ since "Ingenting" but I doubt the band will be too troubled about that. "Skisser.." starts off with a ZZ Top-style drumbeat and turns into a very instant song with an anthemic chorus which sounds good on commercial radio.
Damian, in his review of the album at the excellent Swedish Stereo blog (by the way you must check out Swedish Stereo, if you haven’t already done so!), noted the similarities within the album’s opening track, "Glasäpplen" to "Ingenting" and as that’s one of my favourite Kent songs then needless to say I like this one too! "Ismael" sounds as if one of those Swedish radio remixers has been let loose and it’s a very accessible song.
"Ärlighet Respekt Kärlek" has an even more anthemic chorus; "Gamla Ullevi" is one of their most accessible songs of recent years, and I would even dare to describe "Minimalen" as funky and danceable, a description that you wouldn’t normally use to describe Kent! It has a little Empire of the Sun vibe to begin with, and then gives way to a very danceable groove.
Despite its title, "Team Building" is in Swedish, as is all Kent’s recorded output. In the past they tried to break the international market and recorded a couple of albums in English, but then returned to concentrating on what they do best - making music in the Swedish language and concentrating on the Swedish market. If you are a non-Swedish speaker, their official website www.kent.nu has forums in various languages, including English, and that messageboard is well worth a visit.
This is a very good album, from a band who have always maintained a high standard all throughout their musical career. If you haven’t been familiar with Kent’s music then this is a great place to start.