Swedish octet brings Woodstock back
Sweden has always been a country that exports great music. They first made their mark in international markets in the 1970s when ABBA’s cheery pop-rock sold over 350 million records. In the 1980s, the world was introduced to Swedish rock and metal in the form of bands like Candlemass, Meshuggah and Yngwie Malmsteen. These bands didn’t necessarily have the chart success of other genres, but they’ve since proven influential to metalheads around the globe. Nowadays, Sweden has continued its success. Torchbearers include EDM artists like Avicii and Swedish House Mafia, rock bands like Ghost, and A-list pop producers like Shellback, RedOne and Max Martin, the latter of whom is behind a stunning amount of Top 40 hits in the last two decades. Now a new band is looking to make their own mark: Children of the Sun.
Discovered after winning a music competition in their homeland, their debut album Flowers is unlike anything us international folk have come to expect from Swedish artists.
For starters, there’s nothing electronic or metal about Children of the Sun’s sound. Instead, their entire sound and aesthetic draw from Woodstock-era psychedelia, and as the band puts it, “the free lovin’ spirit of 1969.”
The music itself does indeed have elements of that: sunny harmonies, catchy guitar lines, and unabashedly ‘hippie’ song titles like “Sunchild,” “Flowers” and “Beyond the Sun.” If you’re noticing a common theme, you’re not alone: the eight-piece performs with a wooden sun on stage and claim that their performances “bring the sunshine.” That being said, underneath the slightly cheesy exterior the music itself is solid. Opener “Her Game” is a swaggering shuffle with a killer guitar solo. “Emmy” is a smooth slow jam augmented by an organ, the opening riff of “Flowers” sounds dangerously close to Led Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Away;” and sprawling closer “Beyond the Sun” draws from more folk and soul influences.
The impressive thing about Flowers is that the band has managed to both show their influences and create a sound that’s their own. Other throwback bands can’t do this as well, such as Greta Van Fleet’s algorithmic channeling of Led Zeppelin or the small army of guitarists who only play Jimi Hendrix riffs. Children of the Sun are a quality act that should continue Sweden’s dominance of contemporary music, and rightfully so.