Time to play some simplistic, reductive "Name the Influence" games with the current crop of Scandinavian art rockers. If the Soundtrack of Our Lives owe much of their sound to Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones; the Dipsomaniacs to the Kinks and the Creation; Motorpsycho to the Who and the early Soft Machine, and Sigur Ros to whale songs and solo Robert Wyatt, then Sweden's Thirdimension owes a debt to -- well, actually, all of them, to some extent. Which, counterintuitively, makes Thirdimension a lot harder to categorize than any of those other bands, and makes their second album so much fun to listen to. For all the spacy psychedelic tendencies skirling around the edges of these songs, Bjorn Stegmann is too clever a songwriter to keep them from overshadowing the tunes' essential melodic strengths, from the power-poppy rush of overlapping vocals on "Mondaymachine" to the delicate mopery and surprisingly affecting lyrics of "Sore Lips." Overall, Permanent Holiday is a much stronger album than 1998's Protect Us From What We Want, with more consistent and varied songwriting and more assured arrangements than that already-impressive debut.
Permanent Holiday Review
by Stewart Mason
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