REVIEW: Makthaverskan’s II
Makthaverskan are a punk band hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden. The quintet is composed of Maja Milner, Irma Krook, Andreas Wettmark, Hugo Randulv, and Gustav Andersson.
Originally formed in 2009 to combat the daintily cute direction that artists like Lykke Li, Robyn, and Peter Bjorn & John were taking the Swedish music scene, Makthaverskan have impressed critics with two full-length LP’s that carry on the legacy of their heroes and now defunct Broder Daniel.
It is their latest effort II that first caught my attention. Released in March of last year, I only caught wind of II when Pitchfork’s Ian Cohen reviewed it this May. I forgot all about the album after downloading it until I saw Kip Berman, lead singer of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, proudly flaunting his copy on Instagram.
The co-sign from a member of one of my favourite bands was all I needed to dive headfirst into the absolute bliss that is Makthaverskan’s sophomore effort.
Opening song ‘Antabus’ sets the bar for the rest of the record high. The track is named after a drug given to alcoholics to discourage them from relapsing through the threat of painful symptoms. The anxious peal of the the violent guitars and drowned out drums competing to be heard, along with Milner’s confession —“I am walking in my room, trying to find out what to do, but I just can’t find a way” — leads us to believe that Milner too is suffering another kind of relapse, heartbreak. Considering her helplessness at the hands of her volatile emotions, Milner’s emphatic refrain of “Fuck you!” becomes all the more liberating.
If you were relishing a moment’s reprieve for your racing heart, album standout and personal favourite ‘Asleep’ will sorely disappoint you. Milner’s lyrics seem to have come from a place of crushing dismay we all know, the abyss of unrequited love. The Swedish lead singer’s grasp on English may seem paltry to some, but her limited vocabulary affords her writing a beautiful sense of brevity here. Milner opts to soften her powerful voice in the buildup as she mournfully reflects that “you’re asleep, you’re dreaming of someone and it’s not me” which makes the ensuing belting of the chorus all the more piercing. The repetition of “it’s not me you’re dreaming of” may at first seem depressing, but the acknowledgement breeds a pervading feeling of catharsis which is propelled skyward by the ever-buoyant jangly guitars.
‘Asleep’ is fun to belt out on angst-ridden occasions. In my experience, this came as I ran home from a bar in which I had asked for the pretty bartender’s number after Croatia’s 4-0 drubbing of Cameroon and several pitchers of beer had lent me confidence I normally only found through listening to rap music.
The rest of II is a rollercoaster ride for your emotions well worth the price of admission.