The Lost Poets is a most unusual band. Actually a duo, they hail from Sweden’s capital, Stockholm but sound like they’ve been reared down in Louisiana. On this 5-track, debut EP titled Insubordia (released 17th April, 2014), their blend of blues and rock is like no other I’ve heard. Even though you can hear certain influences (Queens of the Stone Age, The Black Keys), they manage some alchemy which transforms it into something unique. However, the image that David Rosengren (vocals & guitar) and Petter Ossian Strömberg (drums & bass) portray is neither of old-timers singing the blues in their rocking chairs on the porch or of rock stars pretending not to care. Rather, the EP’s cover and publicity photos are somewhat disturbing. Appearing as if they’re on their way to some surreal night at the opera, the two members appear in black top hats, dinner suits, bow ties and gloves with white shirts. Their faces are featureless, being hidden behind black masks. It’s a stark contrast between the clinical images and the emotionally charged songs. As alter egos go, it’s much more sophisticated and intriguing than Slipknot.
Written and co-produced by the band, their take on the bluesy rock tradition involves emotional vocals, acoustic guitar where you can hear the finger movements scraping across the strings, distinctive percussion and liberating rock guitar.
“Ode To K” is the lead single. Menacing and with a sense of drama, it builds and builds. David Rosengren says of it, “Ode To K was one of those songs that just came out of nowhere. It’s essentially about a man selling his soul to the devil and how his life was before and after he died. It’s also an homage to the love of his life for trying to help him. It’s all very suggestive and the inspiration, as always, comes from my own life in a twisted sort of way”.
For the video to promote “Ode To K”, David and Petter extend their sinister persona. Dressed in their trademark ensemble, they appear to have invented a time machine and are busy connecting it to a crib to send a baby through time. At least, I think that’s what happens.
“Lying Down” is a grungy metal track and much heavier. “Die To Live” is stripped down and slow with despairing lyrics and rough acoustic guitar, which suddenly bursts into rock and reverb vocal, as if they’ve had some sort of epiphany. For the title track, “Insubordia”, we’re back to raw blues rock with David at his most animated, delivering a vocal like a man bursting out of his chains. Finishing with “Inside The Cage”, it’s the most mysterious offering, with spoken words and acoustic guitar. It’s very short, and my only complaint is that it doesn’t go on for longer.
The Lost Poets deliver Scandinavian swamp blues meets redemption through rocking it out. It’s all knowingly raw and you’re never quite sure what you’ve just heard. Give me more.
Get Insubordia on iTunes: