On/Off Generation –  Sven Jørgensen (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Sven Jørgensen freely admits to being a a fan of nineties music but unlike many others enamoured with the era, instead of ploughing a singular music furrow, of trying to rework Brit-pop, resurrect the Seattle sound or wander some dusty alt-country byways, he takes a much wider approach. For whilst the sound of On/Off Generation is one that certainly tips its hat to the decade, he somehow manages to blend its genres together in to new forms, ones that are both fresh and familiar at the same time.

At the time Brit-pop’s quintessentially English art-college jauntiness and grunge’s American blue-collar angst seemed so mutually exclusive, like opposites that did anything but attract, but So Glad seems to combine the former’s inherent infectiousness and the latter’s rock and roll muscle. It’s an interesting section of the musical Venn Diagram, one that I for one never realised existed. Untitled Pt. 2 meshes indie with alt-country with a slight nod to the likes of Ryan Adams whose early albums at least would come to pretty much define the term and Living in a World That Doesn’t Exist ends on the heaviest note, an angular alt-rock closing salvo. But it is the album opener that is the one I find myself returning to most, a slow burning ballad which eventually finds a its beat and groove and heads off into REM territory. Never a bad thing.

It is safe to say that the e.p. covers a lot of ground musically speaking and though I’m sure it isn’t intended as a tribute to the nineties, is certainly infused with a lot of sonic nostalgia of the time. But it is about much more than trading on past glories and instead builds its own version of events, a nineties that never happened but one which is totally believable and a perfect musical snapshot for later generations.

Those whose formative years ran through that decade will love it, but so too will those whose roots lie in later times. Come at it fresh and it is an collection of fantastic songs, come at it with a working knowledge of the era and you will love it all the more. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be eh?

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