Soundtrack Of Our Lives – Communion

tsool2009

Rating: ★★★ · ·

The 24 songs that make up Communion, the sixth LP (a double album) by stalwart Swedish throwback rockers The Soundtrack Of Our Lives (TSOOL), clock in at more than an hour-and-a-half. In theory, (and given the immediacy of modern acquiring and listening habits), the very notion of the double album is not only outdated, but a pompous statement of intent.

While there seems no discernible concept running through Communion that facilitates its length, it’s no small feat that the album coalesces as a whole. More than that, its songs offer enough surprises – and subtlety – to not just invite the listener, but warrant repeated exploration.

Splitting the difference between raucous Who-style garage jams (“Universal Stalker,” “Distorted Child”), and melodic Kinks and Sgt. Peppers-influenced songs (“Thrill Me,” “Pictures of Youth,” “Flipside”), Communion manages to maintain an identity of its own without too egregiously displaying its influences. At times TSOOL can sound a little too close to current bands mining the same rock history territory, (“Babel On” and “RA 88” are dead ringers for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) and the nod to their friends in Oasis – or The Bees (adept in their own right at delving fully into the past – is evident on “Flipside.”

But despite its pomp, and the debts it owes, the distortion-soaked “Saturation,” and the delicate “Pineal Gland Hotel” and “Without Warning,” among others, show moments of clear, singular beauty. With an album this long there are bound to be throwaways, but rather than focusing on the occasional missteps, Communion is a rare treat: an album that warrants a start-to-finish listen, no matter how long the trip.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/the-soundtrack-of-our-lives-flipside.mp3]

Download: The Soundtrack of Our Lives – Flipside [MP3]

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