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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Don't let looks fool you -- Soundtrack rocks

November 20, 2002|Dean Kuipers | Times Staff Writer

"We all want to make this place the best spot in the world right now!" roared Ebbot Lundberg on Monday at the Troubadour. The singer for the Soundtrack of Our Lives let the feedback fade just long enough, then unleashed his leaping, kicking, posing, six-Swede front to fill the room again with unrestrained lust for rock catharsis and sonic liberation.

Rock believer Lundberg has transformed the Stooges churn of his former band, Union Carbide Productions, into a chiming, epic, primordial experience.

Swooping around the stage like a modern-day Rasputin in long hair, beard and black cassock, Lundberg had a terrifically charismatic presence made that much more bizarre by the pretty-boy cliches of the rest of the band. Wearing perfect Keith Richards and Mick Ronson haircuts circa 1972, sporting double-neck guitars, and punctuating every power chord with seriously weird mock-rock poses, they even repeatedly pointed their guitars like guns at the audience. If it weren't for the utterly convincing sounds coming out of them, the whole thing would have collapsed as a joke.

Instead, Soundtrack's naive enthusiasm was a strangely clever costume for deeper-felt emotions, dealing squarely with rock's most enduring themes: alienation, not belonging, looking for something beautiful in a world that seems dead set against it.

By the time Lundberg got to the encore, rolling his eyes and motioning like a psychedelic shaman, he revealed where this was really heading, shouting his lyrics, "To the center of the Milky Way!"

Compared to the lightweight '60s garage homage of Norwegian opener Cato Salsa Experience, this was a rich, mature and masterful performance by a group deserving a wider audience.

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