Backdoor Men

Sodra Esplanaden #4

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Collecting everything the band released on vinyl during its lifetime plus a few random bonuses from cassettes, Sodra Esplanaden, Vol. 4 has the feel of one of the single-disc artist overviews on Sundazed for bands like the E-Types. Then again, that's probably just the way the Backdoor Men wanted it -- a '60s-obsessed garage/mod band from Sweden that came together in the early '80s, the Backdoor Men were one of many similar groups of the time enthralled with an already long-gone past. But they had it better than most thanks to an absolutely killer debut single, "Out of My Mind," which could have dropped out of a time warp from two decades previously and easily made the cut on the original Nuggets. Frenetic, energetic, brilliantly sung, it's easily the highlight on Sodra Esplanaden, Vol. 3, but much of the rest of the disc has a series of enjoyably derivative treats. Besides three full-on covers -- the Music Machine's "The People in Me," the Chocolate Watchband's "Are You Gonna Be There (At the Love-In)," and the Standells' "I'm Going Home" -- the band merrily made its way through everything from backward-mask-introduced instrumentals ("Dance of the Savages") to breezily tuneful songs like "Another Way of Giving" that tone down the fuzztone and shrieking for calmer but no less peppy approaches. Based on the screams from the live cuts that make up much of the disc, they had one heck of a following at their height, and the performing in general shows they could kick up the right amount of proto-punk chaos. As is appropriate enough for an artifact of a band that celebrated a musical movement with its own boatloads of artifacts, there are liner notes detailing the whole story obsessively and plenty of photos and ads -- all the minutiae that could make Rhino Records proud.

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