In the early 00s, punk rockers The Swedish Magazines were something of a fixture on the inner-Melbourne scene, cementing a good reputation and playing shows with bands like Cosmic Psychos where they tore up every venue they played.
Despite their high-energy appeal, they weren’t to reach the heights of some of their peers and stalled after the release of their debut album in 2004 and a reformation sometime later didn’t have the impact, and the band was in danger of becoming a forgotten nugget of local music history.
Now that we’re caught up, where does that take us? A second career has revigorated vocalist Van Walker, and the Swedish Magazines are resurrected once more. As the original line-up gears up for a new album, I Wish Life Could Be… collects their best stuff from their past. One listen to the rock and roll magnificence written across this album and one could be forgiven for asking how they were ever allowed to disappear in the first place.
A ragged vocal like some amazing cross between Stevie Wright and a young Rod Stewart cuts across the slashing AC/DC-as-a-punk band chords of Movin’ Shakin’ and we are on a wild unpredictable rock and roll hayride, ladies and gentlemen. From straight ahead rockers like She’s Evil to Rancid-style street punk anthems like Bottles & Barstools and You Never Wanted It to Girl From the Tote that sounds like a punked-out Quireboys, to the amped-up Head on Ice: this is like a rock n roll instruction manual.
I Wish Life Could Be… is a paean to classic rock and old school punk and anyone who loves either of things should grab this immediately.
- Movin’ Shakin’
- Ball Bag Boogie
- She’s Evil
- Bottles & Barstools
- You Never Wanted It
- Girl From the Tote
- Head on Ice
- Think Tanks a Million
- More to Life
- Waves of Bering Strait
- Head on Ice (live on Shock Treatment)
- Mental Leprosy (live on PBS)
- Lap of Hell (live on PBS)
- Standing in the Queue (live on PBS)
- Sickness Gone (live on PBS)