Acid House Kings – Mondays are Like Tuesdays and Tuesdays are Like Wednesdays

Acid House Kings
Mondays are Like Tuesdays and Tuesdays are Like Wednesdays

If 2001 was the year that rock returned, with bands like the Strokes and the White Stripes generating about as much justifiable buzz as any bands in the rock underground, it’s possible that 2002 (or maybe 2003) will be known as the year that the Swedish underground brought back pop music. Even as their most name recognizable import currently is probably the Hives, a band that has much more in common with the aforementioned rock revivalists than other Swedish bands like the Cardigans, there is no denying the currently mounting influence of Scandinavian hordes. Club 8, Moonbabies, Starlet, and Lasse Lindh have all emerged as bands with both artistically adventurous and aesthetically pleasing pop proclivities to possibly overtake the American underground (that is, if that underground didn’t largely consist of depressed and/or cynical teens). If such a takeover is possible, the Acid House Kings may be at the fore of the movement.

Rising from the stylistic ruins of their post-punk precursors in Felt, the Acid House Kings have arrived with one of the most misleading monikers in rock, as their music is firmly in the camp of well-sculpted guitar and keyboard twee-pop and is about as “acid house” as the Smiths. Loaded with rhetorical murmuring over past and present break-ups mixed with sunny tributes to present loves, the trio rides a sparkling cast of squeaky clean guitars, synthesized strings and horns, tapped drums, soft croons, and “ba da dums.”

From giddy pansy pop anthems like “Start Anew” and “Summer’s On Its Way,” both of which are so light-hearted as to make Belle & Sebastian look like Slayer, to softly swaying ballads like “Swedish Hearts” and “You’re A Beautiful Loser,” the Acid House Kings display more hooks than a tackle shop clearance sale and enough dreaminess to lull you into a warm week-long nap. Even as some tracks seem to be treading on dangerously similar ground as their companions in the set, the nice mix of inoffensive arrangements and occasionally humorously spiteful lyrics set the tone for a consistently engaging, if not entirely innovative, listen.

Even so, the cutesiness can run a little thick. Tracks like “Brown and Beige Are My Favourite Colours” push the fey envelope just a bit too far. Similarly, when Julia Lannerheim delivers lyrics like “Don’t be fooled, I’m not that sweet” with a hurt, innocent croon, you really have to make an effort to believe it even slightly. Further, the all-too-precious xylophone of “One Two Three Four” is sweet enough to give Burt Bacharach a sugar headache. Still, when stripped to their basic elements, with only finger-picked acoustic guitar and a quietly squawking trumpet on “This Love is All We Need” or jangly electric guitars on “Say Yes If You Love Me,” the band’s saccharine treats are all the more digestible.

So, all in all, there is little effort in dissecting the charms of the Acid House Kings. Few bands are as obvious in their attention to provide a summery soundtrack to the ups and downs of early adulthood. In short, if pure pop is your kind of thing, the Acid House Kings are ready to serve up great heaping dollops of slightly melancholic, pop-perfect ice cream for you and your sweet tooth. However, if you like your pop with a little more rock, it’s probably advisable that you avoid the inevitable ice cream headache and maybe search out a copy of that latest Hives EP.