Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1991: Golden Age

Union Carbide Productions: Golden Age


Union Carbide Production was a hellraising group of young men from Gothenburg, Sweden who quickly became known as the roudiest bunch in town, both for their chaotic live shows, but also for their arrogant attitude.

Early U.C.P. may have sounded a lot like The Stooges, but these were no thugs, junkies and petty criminals from Ann Arbor. These were snotty upper class kids with money to burn, straight outta da fancy suburban neighbourhoods. They talked in interviews about how much they loved playing tennis, spening obscene amounts of money, driving expensive cars their dads bought for them, and chilling in the tanning bed. And how they only played rock 'n' roll because their decadent livestyle was boring.

Throughout the gigs, frontman Ebbot Lundberg would insult the audience, especially during shows in America where he would spend more time talking about how fat and disgusting everyone was than actually singing. Wherever they went they got on everybody's nerve, just as intended.

It's interesting how punk rock was supposed to be provocative and against the grain, but once you provoke the punks and the rockers themselves and go against their grain, they couldn't hate you more if they tried. When they really should appreciate it. When punk and its aesthetics become generic and evolve into little more than rules you must follow in order to be punk... That's the moment the polar opposite becomes punk.

That's when you need spoiled rich kids telling crusty drunks with a mohawk living in a dumpster just how pathetic they are. Those who don't get that, don't know what punk was supposed to be in the first place.

U.C.P. knew this perfectly well and stopped playing raunchy Stooges rock the moment they realised that's what people expected them to do. Instead they mellowed out and embraced darker and more psychedelic sounds on the 2nd album, and by the third one (from which the song Golden Age is taken) they were downright folksy and Rolling Stones-y.

After recording their fourth album Swing in Chicago with Steve Albini (during which time they got a fan letters from everyone from Sonic Youth to Kurt Cobain), U.C.P. called it quits in 1993. Several members, including singer Ebbot Lundberg and guitarist Björn Olsson, would go on to form The Soundtrack Of Our Lives. Another excellent band worth your time.

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