Division of Laura Lee – Wild Card

A couple of years ago when great bands suddenly started spilling out of Sweden, they were immediately saddled with a retro stigma and filed under “garage rock.” Sure, The Hives and The (International) Noise Conspiracy dressed and sounded like they been raised in American garages in the 1950s and 60s. And the Sounds were the spitting image of a late 70s Blondie. But another fine Swedish band, Division of Laura Lee, mistakenly got lumped together with this new wave/garage revival.

DOLL never fit the mold of retro-punks. If anything, they have more in common with the term “cyberpunk,” coined by sci-fi author William Gibson. Their first album, Black City, was dark and sleek – very much in the vein of Girls Against Boys, and not at all similar to their Swedish peers. Their new album for Burning Heart/Epitaph, Das Not Compute, is a much more complex realization of their sound: their guitars are angular and often play conflicting lines; drums are loud and brutal; keys provide different instrumental textures. If it didn’t kick so much ass, it might be gothic, but there’s a pulse in DOLL’s music that prevents it from being a downer. Not simply a head-bobbing beat, DOLL play dark music with rock ‘n’ roll’s quivering electricity.

“Dirty Love,” off their new record, starts out noisy and violent but when it hits its chorus, has the breathless energy of a rock anthem. “Breathe Breathe” recalls the dark spacey-rock of Love & Rockets. “We Are Numbers” gives off the spooky chill of a Joy Division song set in Blade Runner’s chaotic future.

Currently, on a brief tour of the States with fellow Swedes The Sounds, DOLL should provide a intriguing counterpoint to their tour-mates’ bright, keyboard-doused pop songs.

[This preview of a DOLL show originally appeared in All the Rage.]