Highlights: You Are The Beginning, Reality Show, What’s Your Story, Shine On (There’s Another Day After Tomorrow)
Sweden again, but this time it’s a bunch of clever Britpop could-have-beens from Gothenburg that go by a completely unnecessary name of The Soundtrack Of Our Lives. Could be the best band you’ve never heard of, could be not, but there’s obviously a reason why Noel Gallagher loves them so much: this is the sound of a less ambitious, more subtle Oasis. They don’t do anything exceptional on Throw It To The Universe (which, according to the band’s lead singer, is their final album), but they are still better than hundreds of others doing the same thing. They’ve got the songs.
Throw It To The Universe does many things, from jangle to power pop to 60’s psychedelic whimsy (“Busy Land” strongly reminds me of some Tomorrow song that presently escapes me). Lots and lots of influences that just keep bursting through the tasteful, immaculate, guitar-drenched surface: there’s a touch of “Brown Sugar” at the end of the driving, intense title track, a touch of ABBA (yes) in the second half of the jangly “You’re The Beginning”, one of this album’s instant classics.
While I would argue that this is a more or less flawless record, there are a few songs in the middle that sound like Britpop by the numbers, worthy, catchy, well-written but somewhat uninspired. However, any criticism will have to cease the moment the gorgeous “Solar Circus” gives way to the slow-burning, anthemic glory of the two final tracks. Both are timeless sounding singalongs. Both impossibly sad, both somehow uplifting.
You just can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to your fans. Throw It To The Universe is quietly fantastic stuff. “Wonderwall”, “Don’t Look Back In Anger” – it’s all in here, just without the ego or the cheek. This is a very high 8.