One of the more delightful bands to come out of Sweden in the most recent past is The Soup. This quartet of keyboards, guitar, bass and drums has a rockabilly type of backbeat that is incredibly infectious. With drummer Tom Steffensen's two-beat dance hall backbeats and Johan Bendrik's B3 organ playing, this quartet gets down to the nit-and gritty from the first notes of the first track to the last beat of the final 11th cut.
The group consists of guitarist Magnus Josephson, whose background includes previous playing experiences with Big Band Splash, Nordic Horn, Jennifer Brown, Samuel Ljungblad, September, Abba The Show, Frida Ohrn and Bad Influence. Johan Bendrik has performed with artists such as Emil And The Ecstatic, Roffe Wikström, Sven Zetterberg, Mikael Rickfors, Mission 65 and Carlos del Junko, to name a few.
Bassist Kristof "Spicy" Sundstrom has worked with worked with such Carola, Daniel Lindström, Rikke Lie, Sarah Kelly, Magnus Bäcklund, ABBA the Show and Paul Potts. Tom Steffensen's background includes time with Club 8, Arash, Emil & The Ecstatic, The Boppers, Sven Zetterberg, Christer Björkman, Cotton Club, Daniel Lindström, Anneli Ryde, A-teens and Frida Ohrn.
The thing that drives and truly defines this group is Steffensen's marvelously slap dash, yet metrically perfect drum set work. With a rough and tumble style, he seems most at home playing Texas styled two-beat music. The ensemble on these pieces responses the best as well. These elements are seen on many tunes, but perhaps best on "Bend Song" and "M.I." On these tracks, the ensemble members all hunker down and seemingly drip with a cowboy swagger and musky blue-light late-night bluesy feel.
Josephson's guitar work is as a tight as a rivet on the first floor of a skyscraper. He has a hip ability to work chordal punctuations into his solos that serve to both propel his solos forward and also find a way to accompany them at the same time, as is seen on his ripping solo on "Souperman." Bendrik's work on the B3 appears to be heavily driven by the strong beats laid down by Steffensen. Obviously a lover of the blues, Bendrik plays by the less-is-more caveat and the band is the better for it. Sundstrom's bass work is more harmonically functional than anything else, but that works within the context this band has established.
An excellent first release. It will be fun to watch and see if this band is able to find an international audience. They certainly deserve it.