In one way, that’s probably where the similarities end. One band plays what might understatedly be called “psych-folk,” beautiful songs with lyrics beautifully sung in their native Swedish tongue. The other plays sounds that seem to sound the trumpet for the coming hellish riff apocalypse – and lyrics?!? Take off, eh?!?
Then again, there’s probably more shared traits between Lejonsläktet and Shooting Guns than we’re aware. Certainly, both bands share the ability to monopolize our listening habits, with both generating repeated repeat-listening binges, resulting in both bands achieving an almost mystical pull on our damaged, damaged eardrums.
Lejonsläktet, for their part, is a new project projecting directly from the heart, brought to our attention by our a shared friend in The Orange Revival. Their debut five-song EP is entitled “In Och Ut,” and it’s what we like to call “perfect.”
Our inability to describe the music we love would strike some as a hindrance, but after four years of writing the content for this ridiculous website, we’re starting to get comfortable with the idea. Plus, we don’t have to describe it – you can listen for yourself.
The magic we hear in Lejonsläktet is immediate. We hear the magic in the stunning sonic-sunrise that opens the EP, “Ett Svagt Hopp Om.” It’s in the EP’s initial sound, that of a yawning organ, complimented by the wah’d-out and woozy guitar, and ultimately the promise of fully forest-born musical flowering – or at least the promise of more hooks than a performance of “Pet Sounds” on a fishing boat (good lord willing and the fjord don’t rise). We hear the magic reflected in the quiver in the voice that begins the reptilian, cosmic come-down of “Som Om Sanden Rinner Ut.” We hear the magic in “Illa Gront,” and its seeming ability to grab hold of time itself and stretch, stretch, stretch. We hear it in the super-simple Swedish sing-a-long that is “Som Pa Rols,” and we hear it as “Naturen I Blodet, Skogen I Haret” floats effortlessly above the treeline, through the clouds and back to its rightful home among the stars.
But enough of our corny alliteration and tired attempts at jokes. Within the first 24 hours of having the “In Och Ut” EP, we listened to it over a dozen times. We’re kind of freaked out over how much we like it. It’s easily one of our absolute favorite discoveries of 2014, probably confirmation that we should stick with this ridiculous website for at least another four years, and certainly the best reason we’ve had in quite some time to check the price of flights to Stockholm and make general plans to buy a dashiki, a headband and a flute, while making our home somewhere deep in the woods. Highest possible recommendation.
Such highest possible recommendation continues with regard to Shooting Guns, although it begins with a confession.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of three years ago, we were made aware of the Shooting Guns album entitled “Born to Deal in Magic: 1952-1976.” We promptly downloaded said album, burned the tracks to a disc, and then promptly and clearly labeled that disc as … “Solar Hits” by Glitter Wizard. This was either immediately after, or immediately prior, to labeling a CD of Glitter Wizard tunes as being inclusive of by Shooting Guns.
Mistakes, we’ve made a few.
Flash forward to this past autumn, when we heard word of a new Shooting Guns album entitled “Brotherhood of the Ram,” and – wow! – the band is kind of different. No vocals. Longer songs. Really fucking heavy synth-syrup that drowns our brain in bliss.. And upon further investigation, we realized – holy shit! – we’re really stupid.
So, we’re here today to tell you that Shooting Guns and Glitter Wizard both rule, but they’re not the same band. You’re welcome.
When it comes to Shooting Guns in general – and the also extremely perfect “Brotherhood of the Ram” LP in particular – we urge you to please, please, always clear the chamber before listening. For safety’s sake. But with practice, you’ll find that Shooting Guns is appropriate for nearly any activity. We’ve listened to “Brotherhood of the Ram” in the house, in the car, on headphones, staring at the sun, counting the stars – you name it. It always, always, always does the trick.
The Shooting Guns’ trick, then, seems to be with magic with which they turn a relatively simple formula (riff, rule, repeat) into something fresh, raw and new.
How do they do it? Who knows? Motherfuckers never learn.
Lejonsläktet’s debut LP is available at their SoundCloud page.
Shooting Guns music – including their latest LP, “Brotherhood of the Ram” – is available at their Bandcamp page.
“The spiritual source shines clear in the light;
the branching streams flow on in the dark.
Grasping at things is surely delusion;
according with sameness is still not enlightenment.
All the objects of the senses
interact and yet do not.
Interacting brings involvement.
Otherwise, each keeps its place.
Sights vary in quality and form,
sounds differ as pleasing or harsh.”
- Shih-t’ou Hsi-ch’ien, “”Harmony of Difference and Sameness“