There must be something in the water in Sweden. Though it has always played a role in the international music scene, rock music is quickly becoming Sweden’s major export. It seems that every bored teenager who does not cross county ski has formed a band, and due to the rejuvenation of guitar rock all have quickly been singed to major labels. Now, bands that never thought they would make it out of Stockholm are gaining international attention.
When The Hives exploded on the garage rock scene they blazed a path for many of their Swede rock counterparts to follow … and follow they did. The latest Swedish offering du jour comes to us in the form of Sahara Hotnights, an all-girl-punk outfit. In theory, a female punk band has potential to be a refreshing Nordic breeze in the midst of all the hysteria that is surrounding the male dominated (thankfully, save for Meg White) rock scene. Unfortunately, Sahara Hotnights fail to live up to the task at hand. Aside from a few inspired moments their latest offering Jennie Bomb leaves you, like Sweden, rather cold.
Sahara Hotnights are a formulaic punk band, and Jennie Bomb is laden with run of the mill punk conventions. They have clearly studied the look and sound of their predecessors The Ramones, Blondie, The Clash and The Donnas, but fail to make any of it their own. What may be the Hotnight’s greatest problem is their rather serious disposition. Most of their songs are weighed down by it, which makes for lyrics with an inflated sense of self-purpose. The opening line of “Alright, Alright” does much to set the tone, “Now I feel like breaking laws / Go on start a civil war / Here’s my fist, Where’s the fight?”
Sahara Hotnights are at their best when they stop posing as punks and incorporate other influences and sounds. Being from the land of disposable pop music, the Hotnights have clearly taken to heart the importance of a strong hook and melody. Tracks like “Alright, Alright”, “Keep up the Speed,” “On Top of Your World” and “Only the Fakes Survive” explore new wave and pop sounds and are by all means catchy. Though they wanna be Joey Ramone, The Sahara Hotnights are most appealing and have more potential in this form as themselves.