Album offers up pleasantly generic rock, not out to change world

The Soundtrack of Our Lives is not out to change rock ‘n’ roll. They’re not really out to change anything. One of the most transparently mimetic bands of the turn of the century “garage rock” pop revival, the 2002 stateside debut of this Swedish import featured a couple of bright spots. “Sister Surround” found a particularly comfortable place in millennial era hipster playlists that included Hives b-sides and Strokes radio sessions. The Soundtrack of Our Lives was always the awkward, overly enthusiastic member of that class, never quite tonguing the inside its cheek slyly enough to fit in. However, a couple years after graduation, The Soundtrack is doing surprisingly well. Now well past puberty they are holding down a steady job as rock historians.The curiously titled “Origin 1” is basically a big, loud rock record, unrepentantly referencing dinosaurs like Pink Floyd, The Who and The Kinks, unconcerned with charting new ground. Ebbot Lundberg, their portly, befrocked frontman and autoharpist, serves as the perfect rock vocal chameleon necessary to pull off this kind of necrophiliac enterprise. Able to muster enthusiasm to back up even the most vacuous lyrics, he establishes his preferred mode of rasp, a kind of toweringly dull middle ground between Springsteen and Cobain, on the relatively exhilarating “Transcendental Suicide.” Other “If They Mated”-style vocal splicings abound, such as the Transformer-era Lou Reed crossed with Damon Albarn on “Midnight Children.” “Origin 1” could use a little streamlining, and this record isn’t going to change anyone’s life, but it is mildly fun to listen to. So if you’re stuck at a wearisome party somewhere, and someone pops in this CD, prepare to be pleasantly distracted for almost one hour.