- Nathan Yoder
Recommended Listening: Virke - Hovsjö 80
What sort of mischief did you get up to as a teenager? Skip classes with friends? Dabble in light vandalism? Wander around town at all hours of the night? Which character were you in the 1979 music video? Maybe you weren't such a nuisance, but instead, more mature than this writer was at that age.
It's been a while since DC has covered a Flora & Fauna release, but just last week the Swedish label sent us an album with an exceptionally curious concept. Our interest piqued, we listened to Virke's Hovsjö 80 and loved it.
The story goes like this: in the spring of 2020, Billie Lindahl, Rickard Jäverling, and Henrik von Euler (who record together as Virke) had just started work on a new record, when mysteriously, a black and white photo appeared on their desk. It showed a cocky-looking kid in baggy clothes standing between a couple of high-rise apartment buildings. Perplexed, the trio thought that the photo might make a good album cover, but as they continued writing songs, a loose narrative began to form. They imagined what life might have been like for this specific kid in 1980's Hovsjö (a Stockholm suburb), and their album morphed into a sonic biography, details filled in by the musicians themselves. Hovsjö 80 became a time capsule filled with teenage nostalgia. Inspired by experiences and emotions universal to youth, on their new album, Virke asks us to remember our own wild and impulsive teenage years.
Virke - photo provided by Flora & Fauna
(though as a die-hard Trailblazers fan, it's difficult for me to post an image of a Lakers shirt).
Musically, Virke decided to stick with a fairly simple approach (using just a drum machine, a vintage synth, and two Jags), but across Hovsjö 80's 10 tracks, they achieve quite a bit of variation. Some constructions bounce along and others drag in a blur, but two specific cuts stand out to us. Opener Anneli and then E4 söderut are definitely the most anthemic of the bunch, and since being a teenager is so dramatic with its highs and lows, it's no wonder we were drawn to these power pop cuts.
Of course, all of Hovsjö 80 is worth a listen, so mark your calendars for its September 9th release date. Eventually, you will be able to find a link to the album on Flora & Fauna's Bandcamp page, though we don't see it posted there quite yet. Keep a lookout, though, as it's an album you won't want to miss.