I guess covering Roskilde last year has made me a pseudo celebrity in Scandinavia, because never in a million years would I ever think I’d get emails about other Scandinavian festivals. Only problem, the emails have all been in the native language – Swedish, or Norwegian, etc. etc. etc. – and despite my best trying to learn choice phrases in the months prior to Roskilde, I know precious little Danish. A little while ago I received correspondence from this unsigned Swedish band, Ben HoGun; thankfully, their email was in English.
Stick with me, as this next bit sounds confusing: this four-piece is comprised of childhood friends Niklas Eriksson and Björn Kaplan, Oskar Blondell (who went to high school with Kaplan) and Alexander Alexander Buultjens, described on the band’s official Web site as a “younger bass prodigy” (leading me to believe that it’s a situation like Stornoway‘s, where a younger member has joined the ranks of the older core of the band). Ben HoGun also has “a secret fifth element” that sounds very…well, intriguing. The band started in 2008, pooling all of their respective musical, visual and other artistic influences together to make a sound that was uniquely them. They’re from Norrtälje, and from what I can gather on Wikipedia, it’s a small place near Stockholm.
But before I knew all of that, all I had of them was the music video they recorded for their track ‘In the City’. With a sultry bass line and jangly guitars, they sound like a happier White Lies to me. Singer Blondell even has that regretful yearning in his voice that we’ve come to know as trademark Harry McVeigh. I’ve been cuffed for previous lazy journalism comparing another band to White Lies prematurely. But sometimes when you’re a music reviewer, you do what you can do when all you’ve got is one song to go off of.
Because us Americans do not have Spotify (boo), the band nicely provided me their first four-track EP so I could have a further listen to them. Yup. I was right. Vocals? Definite dark Harry McVeigh vibe. They’ve even got a song called ‘To the UK’ that could have nicely fit on ‘To Lose a Life’. Guitars? They’ve got the chops. Okay, I should probably stop talking now because at this point, the White Lies fans are probably lining up, ready to take it out on me in the comments. But before I go, know this: Ben HoGun have been working hard in late 2010 to record their first album, which I have been promised will be out this summer. I’m looking forward to it.