The Soundtrack Of Our Lives Throw It To The Universe
For Swedish rockers The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, it’s been 16 years without any serious missteps, their tuneful guitar rock remaining mostly unchanged and pleasantly unaffected by the various short-lived fads of contemporary music. Still, 14 years have passed since the band’s creative peak, Extended Revelation For The Psychic Weaklings Of Western Civilization, and the Grammy-nominated breakout Behind The Music is now a decade old, so it’s not a huge surprise that the band has deemed Throw It To The Universe to be its last. What is surprising is how forward-thinking and transformative the album sounds.
While the group has always drawn from the acoustic-electric rock of the ’60s and ’70s, Throw It To The Universe draws equally from more recent fare, from the glam guitar sheen of The Strokes to the experimental pop of Grizzly Bear. Often such era-blending occurs within the same song: “You Are The Beginning,” for example, begins with a jangly hook borrowed from The Go-Betweens’ mid-’00s reunion, then falls into a folky melody reminiscent of The Byrds. The album’s most energetic and urgent material, however, is back-loaded, as the driving, dramatic “Faster Than The Speed Of Light” kicks off the rushing denouement of the band’s career.
Wrapping things up are two memorable songs that allude to this impending end. Atop layers of piano and alt-country slide guitar on “What’s Your Story?,” frontman Ebbot Lundberg asks, “What’s the story that you’re leaving behind?” before shouting through the epic climax, “Everything you know is about to change.” However, TSOOL opts for the quiet, contemplative finale in “Shine On,” in which lush harmonies softly roll along to the chant of “Shine on / There’s another day after tomorrow / There’s another day after the end.” Throw It To The Universe’s seven-track swan song isn’t exactly the band going out on top, but shows it leaving the game admirably, crafting the same catchy, thoughtful songs it’s always made.