Hederos & Hellberg

Ven Stood Still

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Hederos & Hellberg are a duo made up of a couple of well-connected musicians from Sweden. Martin Hederos is from the Soundtrack of Our Lives; Mattias Hellberg is from the Hellacopters/Diamond Dogs. On their debut record together Hederos plays piano and Hellberg sings. The eight songs they cover read like entries in a medium-level rock snob's diary: "Signed D.C." by Love, "She" by the Flying Burrito Brothers, "Been Smoking Too Long" by Nick Drake, "Guilty" by Randy Newman, "Heaven Stood Still" by Mink DeVille. Only Bob Dylan ("You're a Big Girl Now"), and maybe Tom Waits ("Soldier's Things"), could be considered household names. Sounding like the lounge act at a hip (though obviously so) cocktail lounge, Hellberg emotes his way through the tunes like a hoarse, slightly tipsy tourist, while Hederos tinkles along ponderously as if he were auditioning for the E Street Band. They totally wreck "Signed D.C." and make it sound like a public service advert, turn "Been Smoking Too Long" into a lead weight, and manage to make "Pale Blue Eyes" boring, which is a nasty trick. If this is the sound of hipsters growing old gracefully, then staying young is the far better option. Or, at the very least, growing old ungracefully and with a hint of originality. [M Hederos M Hellberg is a straight reissue of 2000's Ven Stood Still, originally released on Gravitation Records in Sweden.]

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