NIONDE PLÅGAN‘s “Frustration” marked one of the most surprising and hard-hitting, epic shoegazin’ post metal / screamo hybrids of 2015, so it’s no surprise a follow up would carry a great risk and burden. The band’s new full length “Reflektion” takes a slightly different sonic alley and proves that huge visceral power can lay in lack of direct, fierce and constant aggressiveness. NIONDE PLÅGAN boldly incorporates dreamy aesthetics and replaces its predecessor’s overwhelming weight with well-balanced, more accessible, yet melancholic sound. We caught up with the band to give you a proper background on each and every track, their influences and lyrical themes. Dive into this entrancing and refreshing offering and read the full track-by-track breakdown below.
“Reflektion” is released by Moment of Collapse Records and Zegema Beach Records. The LP is available in two versions, one splatter and one black. The band just made it available for free (name your price format), so be sure to download your copy from their official Bandcamp!
Since 2012, NIONDEPLÅGAN (with members of TRACHIMBROD, I LOVE YOUR LIFESTYLE, TENGIL) are in the process of making music in the form, color and depth with every release. The use of a mixture of screamo and post-hardcore has evolved over the past seven years into an unmistakable fusion of emo, postrock and indie. “Reflection” is meanwhile the fourth album of the four Swedes and drives through sadness, frustration, hope and salvation. Embedded in the typical Swedish sound, as released by other pertinent bands, NIONDEPLÅGAN release with “Reflection” on absolutely emotional as well as authentic album, which could hardly fit better with the rest of the creative history and career of the band. Emotional guitar lines in a variety of sound robes, a striking drumming, as well as the underpowering bass, create a perfect space for the lurking vocals, which draw like a red thread through the whole album. SUIS LA LUNE, VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SA MYCKET and TRACHIMBROD.
The first song of the album is called Bekännelser. The song is supposed to introduce the album with regards to lyrical themes, narrative and musical arrangements. As of lately, live looping guitar layers has become a way to cope with the use of one guitarist in the band and Bekännelser builds on that notion. The arrangement is simple and repetitive and is written that way to focus on the vocal performance and the lyrics. The lyrics came about while reading the rest of the lyrics from the album while comparing them to the older stuff we’ve written. It’s a kind of self-reflection on how I realized that my views on life in general and thereby the lyrical themes for the band have changed over the years towards a slightly brighter, more optimistic and less frustrated way of seeing things. Bekännelser inspired the album title as well.
The second song of the album embraces the screamo and pop elements that we’ve been flirting with in past releases and represents the sound that we’ve leaned more towards lately. It sort of just happened organically while writing new songs and we all seemed to be more excited and had more fun than ever. The lyrics are partly about this unbelievably posh, upper class guy in my city (whose last name is Rex) who for a while became the most popular thing to ridicule and laugh at. While the narrative is mostly geared towards mocking this guy’s lifestyle it also deals with problems in society such as segregation by characterizing it through this depiction.
Prestationer was one of the first songs we wrote for the album. In a lot of ways, it represented the ideal sound we were aiming for. It combines what we felt was the perfect mix of new and old regarding musical arrangements and vocal performances. The lyrical theme is again dealing with self-reflection. It’s about my feeling of pride in always being able to handle everyday life and how that feeling sometimes gets mixed up with feelings of inanition, emptiness and irritation due to me putting a lot of pressure on myself. It’s about how pausing and crying once in a while helps to cope with this mixture of feelings, before going ”back to business”.
The fourth song of the album, Trots Allt! (or as David Norman says: Trolls Alt!) is fortunately not a song about trolling behind the keyboard. Instead, it’s about seeing the possibilities for a better future during the darkest of times. Trots Allt! (translation: After all/No matter what) was the name of a Swedish anti-Nazi magazine published during the second world war which criticized how the Swedish state helped the Nazis in the war, hiding behind their ”neutrality”. We have borrowed the lyrics from a poem written by the man who also published the magazine, Ture Nerman (who in turn borrowed the title from Karl Liebknecht’s text ”Trotz Alledem!”). The second part of the song was a fun sound to explore and in hindsight is probably one of the highlights of the album for us. We’ll definitely be incorporating more clean parts in future releases as they break up the monotonous sound of full-on roaring guitars in a pleasant way.
Premisser is about the brutally cruel and unreasonable way immigrating kids from Afghanistan are being treated in Sweden today. Personally, I’ve had the privilege to get to know several of these youngsters the last couple of years and it really hurts to see how they need to struggle against this structural brutality in their attempts of finding a place in what they hope is their new home. Due to how they are treated their chances of well-being are more or less non-existent and it’s one of the most unfair situations in Sweden today.
Maskinerna is a homage to the (in)famous Swedish song writer Kjell Höglund. The lyrics used are taken straight from the original. Kjell Höglund is known for writing weird, sometimes political, always ingenious, songs. The lyrics can be described as an anthem on how modern life could be in a socialist society, where machines do all of the mindless work and people can put priority to ”science, love and culture”, instead.
Alienation is a song about the importance of visualizing a better future for us all, and how it would be possible to build a better world if we worked together towards that goal. It’s about how the best way forward is to prioritize the struggle against things that passivates us in our everyday life. Regardless if that’s by trying to shorten working hours, trying to decrease mental health issues or working for sobriety. Enabling people to become more active is the way to attain common goals.
The closing song of the album is called Diskrepans. Self-reflection is the lyrical theme once again, and the song focuses on how I often experience a discrepancy between different aspects of well-being. One aspect is that I feel a need to have meaningful things to do and being part of something bigger than myself. Another aspect is that I feel a need for leisure and a social life without any attempts or achievements. In theory, it should be possible to balance these two different aspects and they should even be able to strengthen each other. Sometimes, I feel that this is actually the case. However, way too often I feel that these two aspirations toward well-being instead makes me speed into somewhat of a head-on collision with myself. Leaving me confused and not well at all, not being able to bridge the discrepancy. The closing part of the song was one of the earliest pieces written and it was blatantly obvious how it would be the perfect ending for the album.