There seems to be some sort of unwritten rule that certain countries regularly throw up new bands that absolutely love from the first minute that I hear them. Regular culprits in this area include Canada, Japan, Italy and here in the UK; but perhaps in terms of hit rate per capita of population I’m doubtful that any land could beat Sweden in this regard. There really must be something in the water (or is it those forest huts?) that has spawned a seemingly endless stream of bands from the Progg generation onwards that have the ability to bring out interesting, complex and highly satisfying music that just seems to hit me in the right spot.
The latest in this line of excellence is CB3, short for Charlottas Burnin Trio, who I first featured on a playlist back in February. The band is made up of Charlotta Andersson (guitar), Jonas Nilsson (double bass) and Nathanael Salomonsson (drums) and ‘From Nothing To Eternity’ is their debut album. But first the bad news, even though the album has not yet been officially been released yet the Eggs In Aspic cassette has already sold out, although you can pre-order the digital download here. However,it is also being released digitally by Swedish label Lazy Octopus, and they have some tapes left to pre-order at the time of writing. You don’t want to miss out, and here’s why.
The album opens with ‘Meditation’ which, as the title suggests, is a slow contemplative number that relaxes you nicely into a listening frame of mind. This acts as a sort of overture which also accentuates the title track which is next up. Also starting in a slow and understated fashion it’s not long before the band are really, well, burnin’, as the track explodes into action with a great mixture of a slow and heavy stoner feel combined with more detailed sounds that could have been originated in Germany in the early 1970s. This gives the track a feel of both the familiar and the strange… in a way that you get the feeling that further listens will glean even more. As the track progresses, it’s over twelve minutes long, it hits a cool psychedelic trippiness that the band hold nicely until the end after which you feel well and truly in the groove.
Up next is ‘Rogue’, which has a more jazzy improv feel to it. Here the guitar heads out onto a real spacey journey in a way that grabs you and leaves you hanging on for dear life as you try to keep up, while ‘Beware of the Wolf’ sees a return to the heaviness of ‘From Nothing To Eternity’. The kraut feel is evident here, especially through the tribalistic drumming which really drive the track throughout. There are some ace effects here too before that heavy guitar bangs in after about three minutes. From that point the track really moves up a notch and delivers some really satisfying moments as the band carry it along in a way that has you willing them to step up, and then step up some more… something they do with aplomb before closing it of in a sensitive and delicate manner… great stuff, and my fave track on the album.
Following that wasn’t easy for me, but the understated ‘Elixir of Life’ did the job with it’s mellow strumming and quiet understated approach acting as a good palate cleanser for what was to come next. This being ‘Awakening’, which is the third long ‘centre-piece’ track on the album. Like the other two it is much more expansive than the shorter numbers right from the outset. From bar #1 the band are straight into it with a cacophony of sound that announces their presence before reigning back into something more considered. Starting with the germs of a riff CB3 slowly build up again in the sort of way that just really gets me going. It’s done with patience and is thoroughly unhurried… making the climax all the more satisfying for it. After that the band take the track home in a style that is both coherent and fragmentary, there being so much going on that, again, it’s difficult to keep up.
After all that excitement it’s good to power down again with ‘Meditation II’ which, with it’s namesake, nicely bookends the album providing both context and time for reflection on what has been heard… and what has been heard is a terrific debut from a band that, apparently, has been going since 2013. As such their debut has been a long time coming, but by the same token those four years have been far from wasted. I hope that they’ve got more of this in the vault because listening to this album, although mostly improvised, provides me with a cogent and coherent sonic experience that really makes me want to hear more.