Sweden’s the Soundtrack of Our Lives is that rarest of all beasts — retro, but without any of the smirking post-modern attitude that gives so many ’60s and ’70s revivalists their self-satisfied, brittle post-graduate superiority. At the Troubadour, TSOOL played it so straight-faced and earnest you could call them Rip Band Winkle, who fell asleep in the studio around 1968, woke up some 30 years later and picked up where they left off.
Robe-wearing frontman Ebbot Lundberg, looking like a garden gnome-turned-cult leader, opened the nearly two-hour set (including two encores) singing, “I believe I found a better way to satisfy you,” and ended the night howling from the lighting scaffold.
In between, guitarist Ian Person played a solo behind his back during “Dow Jones Syndrome,” drummer Fredrik Sandsten tossed his sticks into the air and the band created a swirling, throbbing hypnotic assault.
They flirt with the edge of parody, with lyrics welcoming the aud “to your future” and bemoaning a “21st Century Ripoff.” But they never let down their guard, sounding like a more professional version of the garage bands who were collected on the “Nuggets” and “Pebbles” collections, combining the snotty attitude of the Rolling Stones with a hormone-driven psychedelia.
The songs previewed from their upcoming Universal release “Origins: Volume 1” (due in March) draw from the same rich vein as 2002’s “Behind the Music.” You could pick off the influences of their songs (mid-’60s Stones, pre-“Tommy” Who, Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd and the brooding, messianic decadence of the Doors and the Stooges) like ducks in a shooting gallery, but that seems almost beside the point.
Soundtrack of Our Lives may be revivalists, but they never lapse into slavish imitation. It’s a fresh interpretation of a style that could easily turn stale.
The Soundtrack of Our Lives return to Los Angeles April 2 with a show at the Avalon.