BROWSING COLLECTION – GREETINGS FROM WONDERLAND: Album Review
Back in early June of this year (2015), yours truly (The Meister) once again made my yearly pilgrimage to Scandinavian Sweden for the Sweden Rock Festival. Believing that we just don’t “do it right” here in North America when it comes to music festivals I have always having wanted to experience a European rock festival. After choosing 2013’s Sweden Rock Festival as my victim, this is an event that I’ve had the pleasure of attending for three consecutive years now. For anyone wishing to read about my adventures this year along with those of my Decibel Geek co-worker The Lionsheart who also attended, follow this link: Sweden Rock 2015 and Decibel Geek. Sweden Rock has never let me down and has consistently provided an exciting roster of bands to discover, old and new, and I’ll be traveling over every June as long as I’m financially able and as long as they hold this incredible event.
There’s a new music movement in Sweden, a veritable hotbed of fantastic rock with bands like Sister Sin, The Scams, Thundermother, Crucified Barbara, Crazy Lixx, Bullet and H.E.A.T among others and one facet of the festival that continues to impress me is the NEMIS (New Music In Sweden) Stage. Through this organisation that presents little-known upstart Swedish bands I’ve discovered bands like Days Of Jupiter (2013), Imber (2013), Juggernaut (2013), Ammotrack (2014-made my best of 2014 albums too), Va!? (2014), and Beast (2014) to name a few. NEMIS didn’t let me down in 2015, introducing me to another great talent of Sweden with the all-female punk/rock band Browsing Collection.
The Lionsheart and I wandered into The Rockklassiker tent to find Browsing Collection (a band we had not heard of nor anything about) already in progress with the NEMIS banner backdrop looming behind them. I was instantly captivated by these young ladies and their brand of hard rock infused punk. To watch the entire concert set from Browsing Collection at Sweden Rock 2015 see the video below. I don’t know a lot about the band as Facebook seems to be basically the only source for info on the quartet, but here are my findings: Browsing Collection began in 2008 in Skövde, Sweden by three young ladies. With many member changes in the history of Browsing Collection, the four-member roster presently consists of Mimi Brander (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Moa Lenngren (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Nora Lenngren (Bass/Vocals) and Carro Karlsson (Drums). Whether any or which of these four may be among the original three who started Browsing Collection is unclear, but this is the lineup that drew me in at Sweden Rock and also recorded the CD Greetings From Wonderland. The band’s message is a simple one that bleeds profusely through their music of: “Stand up for yourself, don’t trust jerks, stay off drugs and save the planet” and according to Facebook: “”A big, fat, tight bitch slap” is a phrase people have been using to describe Browsing Collection‘s music.”
Thanks to The Lionsheart‘s translations during the set I was educated that a band member’s mother would be selling CD’s over in the corner after the show….SALE! I hurried over and secured myself a copy of Greetings From Wonderland. Greetings From Wonderland, (possibly the third effort, I’ve seen it called the debut but have also seen their bandpage.com report that they have four discs with a fifth in the works) from Browsing Collection begins with the punk assault of “Don’t Tell Me” which has also been released with an official video that can be seen on YouTube. The song charges along with a catchy hook and identifiable chorus and listening to the lyrics, the messages stated above are prevalent. “Haters Gonna Hate” ramps up the pace a little in a super-charged punk feast, but it’s “Gotta Get Away” that’s a real gem for me. Greetings From Wonderland continues the assault much in this fashion through “Scream It Out Loud”, “All I Want Is Rock & Roll”, and “Have You Ever Heard Of Karma?” until we are served a ballad, “Just Words”, thrown in amongst this “angry girl-music” mix. “Rejoinder” is another standout, noteworthy cut showcasing a little more of a heavy metal influence (explaining why it appeals to me so much). “I Don’t Pity Assholes” drives the obvious message home and “Give Me Everything” rips along while “The Forgotten” introduces some piano stylings tapering back the assault once again with this softer ballad. “Greetings From Wonderland” basically shuts down the album according to the sleeve, but there is one more hidden track that appears. Although spoken in English I find the untitled, hidden, spoken word and weird synthesiser sounds track to be a rather complete waste of time and really have no idea of it’s purpose or even what it’s about as my interest is quickly lost.
In true punk fashion the songs are short, most around the three-minute mark, with some hard-edged melodies as Browsing Collection speeds through the Greetings From Wonderland track-list, the brief respites (actually the longest track at near four and a half minutes) being “Just Words” and “The Forgotten”. Also notable is the mention of Mia Coldheart in the CD’s liner notes. For those unfamiliar, Coldheart is a member of Swedish all-female band, Crucified Barbara.