Friday, September 23, 2011

September 23: Masshysteri, "Vår Del Av Stan"

Artist: Masshysteri
Song: "Vår Del Av Stan"
Album: Vår Del Av Stan
Year: 2009

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Though many may wish to think differently, the reality is that in modern society, almost every form of music can be easily accessed to anyone across the globe.  While there are certainly some negative results of this truth, it also makes it possible for the sounds of one culture to me brilliantly blended with those of another, creating some of the most uniquely exciting music the world has ever heard.  This is true in every style of music, as one can find examples of hip-hop in remote areas of the world as easily as one can find "local" tribal music being created in the largest cities on the planet.  Yet it is when a band is able to take a number of different influences and fuse them together into something entirely new that the greatest results of such "access" can be heard, and there are few finer examples of this idea than in the music of Swedish rockabilly/punk rockers, Masshysteri.  While the band was sadly only in existence for a few short years, the music they created was far beyond that of almost any other group on the planet, and it is within their songs that one can experience the culture and language-defying power of truly great music.  Mixing together everything from Black Flag to Dick Dale to Chuck Berry, there has simply never been another band making music quite like Masshysteri, and few songs better sum up their unique musical genius than what one can experience on the title track to their 2009 album, Vår Del Av Stan.

Serving as the lead track to the album, "Vår Del Av Stan" sets an amazing tone for the record, as it contains a completely captivating sound and energy that is rarely found in today's music scene.  There is an urgency and authenticity within their playing that reminds listeners of what music sounds like when it is being created for the "right" reasons.  Following a perfectly tones chord, the band builds an exceptional level of tension behind the opening vocal, and as they begin to tilt the sound over the edge, the excitement can easily be felt.  Even after hearing the song a number of times, the emotion and feeling of this moment are still just as powerful, and it is this reality that sets "Vår Del Av Stan" so far apart from almost any other recording in recent memory.  However, it is also the way that Masshysteri is able to bring together their various influences into a new sound that makes the song so fantastic, as the surf-like undertones of the guitar manage to blend perfectly with the power and grind that the song demands.  The speed of "Vår Del Av Stan" surely lit up countless clubs, as one cannot help but get caught up in the emotion of the song, and yet the band does not push the music to a point that it might turn off other music fans.  It is this balance that Masshysteri strikes in every aspect, from the deep grooving bass to the almost flying guitars that make "Vår Del Av Stan" such a special recording, and it serves as a reminder that when one stays true to the music within, it is almost impossible to yield anything less than stellar results.

It is also the way that the shared vocals blend so perfectly with the music over which they are placed that makes "Vår Del Av Stan" a song that is impossible to forget.  Even if one does not speak Swedish, the emotion behind the words are more than enough to "hook" the listener, and this in itself is the true essence of the power of music.  Handling a majority of the lead vocals, Robert Pettersson mirrors the urgency of the musical arrangement, and there is a clarity and spirit within his voice that easily transcends cultural borders.  His singing blends with that of Sara Almgren in a fantastic manner, and their combined sound is completely unique, giving "Vår Del Av Stan" an edge that is rarely found elsewhere within modern music.  There is a large amount of spirit within their singing, and it is this energy that matches the punk spirit, even without any understanding of the lyrics which they sing.  However, when one learns even a small amount of the words to "Vår Del Av Stan," the link to the punk style becomes even stronger.  The title itself roughly translates into "our part of town," and this idea is as true to the punk spirit as one can find anywhere.  A majority of the rest of the lyrics speak to the thought of being true to yourself and understanding that life is tough, which is a reality one must face.  This idea of "live for today" is similarly as close to the punk rock ethos as one can imagine, and it enables "Vår Del Av Stan" to serve as proof as to what a border-less sound that genre has become.

In an era when there is virtually no limit to the sounds and styles of music that one can access from the comfort of home, it is somewhat surprising that such mediocre music still manages to dominate sales all across the world.  However, there are also a massive number of bands that stand in strong defiance to this idea, creating exciting and new combinations of sounds form across the planet.  There are few bands that better represented the latter of these ideas than Sweden's own Masshysteri, and one can only sit in frustration at the fact that the band is no longer making music.  In every aspect, Masshysteri represented everything that was great about rock and roll and punk rock, as they clearly made music exactly how they wanted, fusing together a wide range of influences into a completely unique sonic assault.  Whether it was the surf-influenced guitars or the clearly punk-styled vocal approach, there are few music fans that such a sound would not appeal to, and the fact that there is an honestly and authenticity on every song that can be easily felt is a reminder to the "true" spirit of rock and roll.  Furthermore, one can easily understand just how powerful the band was in live situations, as a majority of their songs carry with them a power and energy that easily set off any club anywhere on the planet.  In every aspect, there are few bands that have shown as perfect a balance between power and talent as one finds in Masshysteri, and there have been few releases as refreshing to experience as their 2009 song, "Vår Del Av Stan."

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