The first in a series of CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEWS from the archives, united in posterity by a complete and disturbing lack of recollection on my part. That’s right. Never heard of it. And yet … this little bad boy was published in August, 2005.
To Die Alone
(Burning Heart/ Shock)
Most karaoke bystanders have witnessed the unnerving spectacle of a seriously under-equipped vocalist coughing up solid gold through sheer force of will. It’s a kind of alchemy that can make you want to laugh, cry and hide in the toilets at the same time.
Reformed punk Anders Wendin, aka Moneybrother, is that kind of performer. Imagine Joe Strummer going for broke at Eurovision and you’ve got the gist of the overwrought Swede’s second, curiously arresting Euro-pop blockbuster.
He’s all sweat-soaked disco fever from the opening cut, They’re Building Walls Around Us, and though the violins settle down a little, his overreaching larynx continues to melt down in direct proportion to the heartbreak that follows.
It’s hard to believe a song called I’m Not Ready For It, Jo can exist, let alone have you in tears when the orchestra belts in. Blow Him Back Into My Arms is another melodramatic gem. He finally meets his match in What’s the Use of Trying, a production reminiscent of Scott Walker bravely ignoring throat surgeons’ orders.
References to other kitsch/ classy Swedish songwriters such as Abba, Roxette and Max Martin (Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, Bon Jovi, etc) are relevant here, but while Moneybrother is gargling at the same fountain, what he’s spitting out is something else.