Perhaps I’m showing my tastes here more than anything, but my experience of the Swedish music scene has been limited mostly to progressive rock, jazz, and black/death metal. There must be something in the water that produces so many excellent Swedish acts. From where I’m coming from as a listener, it’s refreshing to hear a pair of Swedes like The Lost Poets do a knockout rendition of a traditionally American style. The style, in this case, is American grunge. Nirvana‘s probably the first band to come into the minds of most at the mention of that 90s movement, but I’d argue it only achieved its true worth with bands like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. It’s to The Lost Poets‘ credit then that those are the bands I’m most reminded of while listening to Insubordia pt II.
True to its name, Insubordia pt II isn’t the beginning step for this band, who have been releasing consistent alt rock since 2014, beginning with the first part to this would-be series. By contrast however, Insubordia pt II is the first full-bodied album they’ve ever done. In many ways, it sounds like The Lost Poets have established themselves with this album. In contrast with the fervent prog and metal scenes, a more traditional rock group tends to have a harder time making waves abroad. Even if this proves to be the case for The Lost Poets, I don’t doubt for a second that the duo deserves to be heard. The songwriting here is tightly dynamic, and it comes with a dark and warm presentation that immediately puts the band on par with many of the very legends that influenced them.
Despite their Nordic background, The Lost Poets seem to go out of their way to sound like distinctly American. Swamp rock, blues and 90s alt grit are all mixed in together for something I’d imagine to hear popping up in Seattle. This isn’t a compliment nor a criticism; if anything, it demonstrates that these guys already have a solid grasp of the sound they want to go for. At the potential sacrifice of a truly unique style (which these guys may very well earn later down the road) the brooding threads of their influences have paid off. The vocals are thick and appropriately resonant, as are the band’s fuzzy riffs. Insubordia pt II‘s songwriting is remarkably consistent and in keeping with their style’s trademark moody tone, but I find myself most impressed with the way The Lost Poets bring their work to life.
I would be interested to see where The Lost Poets go with this Insubordia series. Make no mistakes: this is not a sequel so much as a promise kept. Although they’re still clearly in their opening stages, there’s a lot of potential in these guys, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear great things coming from them in the future.