Comparisons to Blondie, says Jesper Anderberg, are to be forgiven. “I think there’s a slight similarity between us.” Anderberg plays keyboards and guitar in a Swedish indie-rock band called the Sounds. “I mean, we have a blonde girl and four guys, and we play, like, up-tempo. It’s an easy comparison. But I think it ends quickly after that. We’re two different bands.” Not to mention two different girls. Deborah Harry, a chemical blonde, was once a Playboy Bunny; Maja Ivarsson is a true blonde and a nasty, cock-rocking punk. Blondie was an art-pop band with manufactured star power. The Sounds are aggressive and hard and bleak, like No Doubt but with better guitars and troubling lyrics.
“I think it’s hard to write songs about good times. I can never write lyrics about something happy in my life. There’s gotta be some sort of depressing story behind it.” Anderberg says it may be cultural. “I think Sweden, in general...well, it’s not a depressing country, but there’s always a lot of talk about it being dark and stuff like that.” He describes his country’s long, dark winters. “Six months a year. And we usually write music in those six months. There’s not much else to do.”
It turns out that Anderberg and I have something more in common than our Svensk heritage: John Denver. My mom, I confess, played John Denver albums every night at dinner for years. “He’s a great songwriter. Some of his songs are pretty cheesy, but he’s a piece of history, of U.S. culture.... I think it’s weird to write about something that’s happy. I don’t like to listen to lyrics when people are running around saying how great life is. When someone says, ‘Oh, I love my life,’ you don’t trust that.”
Funeral Party, the Limousines, and Kids at the Bar also perform.
THE SOUNDS: Soma, Thursday, November 17, 7 p.m. 619-226-7662. $20.