Graveyard, Earthless | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Graveyard, Earthless Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Dec. 5, 9 p.m. 2015

On their fourth album, the recent Innocence & Decadence (Nuclear Blast), Swedish four-piece Graveyard walk a fine line. Though their disarming swagger and corny bombast invoke the stadium rockers of the 70s (the ones who hadn’t yet learned to be circumspect about stealing from old bluesmen and young soul singers), they scrupulously avoid not only the ridiculous bloat that provoked the backlash of punk but also the joy-sucking ironic distance that afflicts most similarly retro-minded contemporary outfits. With his gruff, limber holler and grainy head voice, front man Joakim Nilsson sounds like Zeppelin-era Robert Plant with a few more city miles on him, but Graveyard play with the ingratiating house-party hustle of a band used to winning over dark clubs half-full of indifferent drunks, not selling out arenas. The strutting, sashaying “The Apple and the Tree” livens up its effervescent groove with frisky tambourine and sassy swipes of slide guitar; the barreling “Never Theirs to Sell” percolates with stuttering, syncopated bass drum and double-time hand claps; and the swaying, sentimental “Too Much Is Not Enough” adorns its postchorus breaks with faux gospel backup singers and playfully approximates stop time with a guitar part that fetches up on the backbeats. But Graveyard have modernized their shamelessly dated music in some key aspects: on “Magnetic Shunk,” for instance, they invert the toxic trope of the rock god and the groupie. “It’s nobody’s business who you give your kiss, but I’m telling all the world what they’re about to miss,” Nilsson sings. “No need to be gentle, baby, I like it raw / Treat me like I was crime, and you are the law.”

Philip Montoro

Price: $22

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