Share INDIGO - Tramp (Bootleg Booze/Killer Cobra)
If rock and roll is being reduced to a niche pastime thanks to the relentless roll-out of other forms of digital diversions, at the least the places where it's allowed to peacefully co-exist are still fertile. Countries like Sweden were hotbeds in the '80s and '90s. Tramp's debut album proves that Scandi Rock lives on.

You can buy this as a beautiful box set of four 7" singles on Bootleg Booze or a CD via Killer Cobra. You could even legally download it. The choice is yours. The format matters little when the contents are great. Tramp's influences lie back in the hard-rocking '70s and psyched-out '60s and this is a fine melding of both. Pop hooks accentuated by glistening keys and rock guitars, cleaned up enough to make it radio-friendly. Makes sense to me.

The star billing goes to drummer Robert Eriksson who was in The Hellacopters and is a veritable powerhouse here. Tramp aren't a one-man band and Markus Karlsson's arresting and melodic vocal just about steals this show. Of course, a world class singer could fall flat without strong songs. Tramp have them too.

Featuring members of the Turpentines and some lesser light but worthy bands of the Scandi scene, these guys sound like The Creation butting heads with the psych era Pretty Things and Alice Cooper before he hit the big time and blanded out. Throw in a dash of the Dictators in their "Manifest Destiny" days and it's a done deal.

Hyperbole? Cock an ear to opening track "Burn His Cross" and it will be immediately apparent that Tramp are Masters of The Big Rock Moment. Shimmering keyboards dot the landscape as the rest of the band comes in, building their way up to big choruses and Stefan Brandstorm's urgent lead-break. Tramp doesn't mind being brash or flash.

I first heard Tramp on Bootleg Booze's "Up North/Downunder" match-up of heavy-duty bands from the Frozen North with counterparts from Australia. "No Light" was then, and is still, a masterful piece of muscular guitar pop and one of the stand-outs on that collection of gems. And so it goes with most of this album. It's not metal but fllint-hard pop with bits of bubblegum. The meaty and sometimes dense choruses hang off clever hooks - especially on the Who-like "We Are All Alone" and the "Day In The Life"/Beatles-tinged "The Opsimath". "This Is Or Real" breaks free of rock and roll time signatures while "Wonderful New Machine" borrows a skiffle feel.

Check rock's pulse: It's alive and kicking and Tramp are 100% proof. - The Barman




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