Label: The Sign Records
Release date: 21 February 2020
There’s a lot of good music coming out of Sweden these days, spanning across just about every genre imaginable: pop, rock, metal, punk, experimental, synthwave, and anything in between. Most bands take their inspirations from older peers but spin it in a way that suits the modern ear. Beat City Tubeworks saw all that, scoffed, and proudly declared that rock n’ roll isn’t dead, and they aim to keep it just the way it was when it first started. Effortlessly and totally humble, Beat City Tubeworks makes classic rock n’ roll that sounds like it was ripped from the days between late Elvis and early KISS, had the dust blown off, and then got lovingly remastered with all the really rockin’ grooves still intact but none of the flashy moves. Their music isn’t about being hard and heavy nor about speed nor even technical skill. At its heart, it’s all about having fun, and it’s hard to keep from at least cracking a smile when listening to these greasy jams.
The quartet started on their journey in 2014 in Jönköping and, hungry to get in the game, released their first album I Just Cannot Believe It’s The Incredible… off-label in 2016 to a more than accepting audience. After cleaning up with a remaster and a few slight typographical changes, the end of 2019 saw the re-release of I Just Cannot Believe It’s The Incredible… with the band signed under The Sign Records. On a roll and not ready to stop, the group released the single Succubus two weeks after the newly remastered LP, followed by the single Fading to Grey just over a month later. Now in 2020, Beat City Tubeworks has excitedly collected these singles and eight new tracks in their latest album, Top Rock.
The album begins with the hip-twisting, fun and bouncy jam Roadrunner, which has all the elements to make a classic: the revving of an engine, melodic oohs in the background, a rambling and steadily ascending guitar solo, a quick rhythm set by Henrik Frisk’s cymbals on every beat, and Stuart Bayliss’ bass whose volume has been turned ALL the way up. This track is killer as an opener and it’s not even one of the singles from the album! However, the next track, Succubus, is. While notably weaker than the previous track, this one feels a bit more radio friendly by calming down the instruments, Erik Linder’s vocals–accompanied by harmonies and ohhs from the others–also less passionate as if to grab and keep the attention of moms and dads who have to hear that new record their kid bought. The next track, Ivory Wave, is short and sweet but filled with energy, the whole band sounding like they are all having the time of their lives trying to outperform each other. Between the intense mini-solos packed back to back and Linder’s spirited vocals, it’s a shame that this song ends so soon. Fading to Grey is the second single from the album and for good reason. An incredibly catchy guitar hook plays as Linder spits out incredible bars, Frisk pounding away on the drums like a machine or a man possessed. The end of the track is comprised of another terrific solo, almost effortlessly played, Bayliss on bass setting the mood nicely. Estranged is yet another fantastic groove, but this time adding a bit of a twang to the guitars and taking advantage of the evergreen cowbell. Bayliss really shows off during the latter half of this track, the guitars playing more rhythm while the bass plays a catchy outro that slowly fades out.
Archaic Approach marks the halfway point of this album and reminds the listener that yes, there is definitely more where that came from! The highlight of this track is definitely Frisk’s fun and frantic drum playing which seems to be moving double time compared to the guitars. Following this, The Joke’s on You is another more relaxed track, easygoing in its execution and more focused on the rocking part instead of the rolling. A brief accompaniment from a piano in the background near the end is a nice touch. Idiot Savant comes out of nowhere with a mysterious and sensual feel to its melody, like the listener just stepped into the wrong part of town. The guitars, bass, and Linden’s vocals all like to travel along the scales in this track, creating a peculiar and dangerous vibe, making one want to put on their best zoot suit and flip a quarter in the alley. With the next track, Take Two of These and Call Me in the Morning, it’s back to the rockin’ and rollin’, albeit a little more romantic than before. This track is a bit of a love song and it toes the line between sweet and cheesy, even giving a break in the middle for either a passionate kiss or an awkward stare between two teens at the drive-in. The last track on the album is 80’s Forest Treasure = Hands of Sin and starts off more or less how one would expect: the ambient sounds of nature with birds and flowing water. This calm is utterly shattered by Linden’s blaring vocals, the whole band playing harder and heavier than ever, major consideration to Bayliss who does absolute wonders here. The last third of the track is less of a solo and more of an instrumental section, everyone in the band getting a chance to show off their skills in the last seconds of the album before it abruptly comes to an end, far too soon and leaving the listener wishing for more.
If their first album wasn’t enough to convince you that Beat City Tubeworks have the chops to play real hard, real fun, true rock n’ roll, then Top Rock will for sure blow you away. Every track is exploding with boundless energy, bursting out of the speakers and directly into your ears. Head-bobbing, toe-tapping, air-guitar-playing fun, Beat City Tubeworks know that the key to a good song lies in its soul, and the soul of these songs have the feel of an arena band willing to tone down the special effects enough to be able to play at the local hole in the wall. These guys will gladly give you another quarter for the jukebox… just as long as the next song you play is one of theirs!
- Erik Linder – Vocals, guitars
- Kristian Rigo – Guitars
- Stuart Bayliss – Bass
- Henrik Frisk – Drums
- Ivory Wave
- Fading to Grey
- Archaic Approach
- The Joke’s on You
- Idiot Savant
- Take Two of These and Call Me in the Morning
- 80’s Forest Treasure = Hands of Sin