Nu Ar det Allvar!!/Voodoo Boogie

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When aspiring hockey champion Michael Maksymenko suffered a severe foot injury at the tender age of 14, his loss was avant-garde rock music's gain. His focus turned to the drums and he founded what shortly became by far the strangest and most interesting power trio in Swedish history. Kraldjusanstalten was formed when Maksymenko teamed up with the twin-brother bass-and-guitar team of Thomas and Stefan Agaton; the resulting noise was like an unholy fusion of Captain Beefheart, Massacre, and Henry Cow, only with Swedish lyrics. This CD combines the contents of the group's first EP (originally released in 1980) and the full-length album that followed a year later. The surface chaos of the band's sound masks elaborate structure and discipline; although early compositions like "Det Loser Sig Atematiskt" and "Ta Over" may come across as disjointed and clattery, close listens will reveal how tightly arranged the vocal and instrumental parts are. The full-length album brings in marginally better production and even tighter playing, but an overall sound that is no less crazy on its surface. Stefan Agaton's guitar work, which is clearly influenced by Fred Frith and Henry Kaiser, is masterful in its sprawling atonality on slash-and-burn workouts like "Hon Fangade Min Blick" and the sideways rockism of "Voodooboogie." Recommended strongly to the adventurous at heart.