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Swedish sextet, The Unisex, look for greatness


Compiled by: Jack Foley

THEY'VE supported The Libertines and are due to return to the UK with Snow Patrol, while their latest single is creating quite some buzz despite, so who are The Unisex?

Hailing from Sweden, the sextet are Jonas Linde (vocals); Andreas Linde (drums and back up vocals); Kristofer Löfgren (lead guitars and back up vocals); Henrik Boman (bass guitar and back up vocals); Anders Rask (guitar), and Andreas Båvemark (piano, Rhodes and organ).

Between them, they conjure up a 'glorious good-time racket' which, according to their website, would have 'the needle flickering at the exact mid-point between the kitsch-thrills of The Hives and the psychedelic fizz of Soundtrack Of Our Lives'.

However, success did not come overnight, as Jonas explains...

"Our first band was called Drain. My parents had a good record collection so I was listening to The Beatles and the Rolling Stones from when I was seven or eight, but by the time we formed the band at school, we were very influenced by Guns’N’Roses and Nirvana.

"We’d do covers of Lithium. Y’know, typical teenage, depressed stuff...”

Having gravitated toward Stockholm the band, then a four-piece, found themselves propping up the local live circuit.

For a while, in the late-nineties, curious gig-goers in the Swedish capital would find themselves bearing witness to both Girl and The New Centre Band.

"We were finding our way," continued Jonas. "There were four of us in the group at the time and we were finding the right combination.

"For a while, I was just screaming instead of singing. But when I would try and actually sing, everybody would tell me that I had a good voice. By this time we were listening to a lot of Paul McCartney and the songs we were writing started to reflect that…"

With the addition of rock-solid rhythm guitarist, Anders Rask, and party-animal keyboard wizard, Andreas ‘Jasse’ Bavanmark, the band set about writing sweetly flavoured guitar pop with an acid twist.

For all the debts The Unisex owe to The Beatles and The Doors at their most lysergically melodic, rock anthropologists will find much in their psych-pop approach to trace antecedents in both The Hellacopters and long-lost Swedish legends, Atomic Swing.

Having built up a following on the strength of their live shows, the band were eventually discovered by UK management company, No Quarter.

The next thing, they were on 12-hour ferry trip to England, to a support slot at the Manchester Apollo.

"We’ve always been influenced by British music, so it was great to come over and play to a big audience," explains Jonas stoically. "It’s all a learning curve for us. We may be going on over-night ferries now, but in five years time we’ll be playing on the moon."

The debut single was called Take Me Higher, and was described by the NME as being like ‘The Stone Roses playing on an iceberg’, but it has quickly been followed by Pigs and their Farms, a double-A side EP, which includes a remix by Archive.

"I think that’s part of the attraction of pop music for us," explains Jonas. "We’ve got songs like Take Me Higher, Magic Carpet and Friday Tonight which, when you first hear them, seem like simple songs about obvious things.

"But there’s always another meaning to it with us. Nothing is ever quite as it seems. We want people to get the feeling that we're not just a bright shiny pop group."

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