Dennis Lyxzen has rocked out for years with Swedish punk band Refused and even though they aren’t making any new music Dennis isn’t ready to stop. This year he introduces the US to his latest band INVSN (invasion) with their English debut album. The record is 10 songs full of catchy, melodic music that takes you back to the 80’s in the best way matched with dark lyrics about what it means to grow up. The debut is strong with every song leaving you wanting more and showing a promising career for the new band.
The album opens with “#61,” which sets up the tone for the entire record. It begins with this slow, drawling guitar riff that sounds like it’s trying to hypnotize you; it really pulls you in to the song. The light jangling sound of the guitar is reminiscent of the guitar sound used by The Cure and it only adds to the 80’s vibe this track gives off. The next song “Down In the Shadows” has intense heart racing music that gets you out of your seat. With the intense percussion it has this slight punk vibe to it. It gets interesting during the chorus where things lighten up and the music gets really bright, but only for a little bit as things go back to sounding dark. It’s one of the catchiest songs on the album and really makes you take notice of the band.
All of the songs here are almost tailored to trick the listener, but not on purpose; INVSN’s just really good at what they do. All of the music is upbeat, melodic, and makes you want to move, but the lyrics are anything but lighthearted. “The Promise” has a light intro with bouncy guitars that get you dancing, but when paying attention to the lyrics you’ll find they’re quite melancholic: “It is still all the same; the same old promise, the same old lies that I despise.” This dynamic between light sounds and dark lyrics is found throughout the album. The same thing is heard on “It’s All Coming Back.” The music is upbeat with thudding percussion and melodic guitars, but lyrics that address losing your hope and faith reveal the truth of the song.
The last two tracks are some of the strongest on the album. “Distorted Heartbeat” has a great bass intro followed by heavy percussion that continues throughout the song matched again with bright ringing guitars. Again, the lyrics aren’t as bright as the music. With lines like “No solace to be find./I guess it’s gonna be this way” show the struggle of hoping things will fall into place when you get older and finding out that it doesn’t always happens. The closing track “Hate” is the darkest on the album both in terms of sound and content. It’s the only song that doesn’t have music that makes you want to dance. Rather the music here is somber and cold. It also has some of the most intriguing lyrics that make you sit and think: “To a world where you don’t belong/to a world where everything’s wrong” and “Hats off to hatred/that made me this way.” It’s almost like an anthem for all the outcasts of the world as if they’re trying to say revel in the fact you don’t fit in because it makes you who you are.
From listening to the music it seems that the band takes a lot of influence from alt rock and post-punk bands of the 80’s. A lot of the music heard on the album sounds like it comes from that era, but the way they make it sound old, yet new at the same time keeps them from sounding too nostalgic or like they’re trying to rip off the sound of that time. Songs like “Our Blood” and “Vasterbotten” sound like they take inspiration from great 80’s bands such as Joy Division and The Cure. Even how it sounds raw and unpolished is reminiscent of a vintage record. Anyone who’s a sucker for the 80’s and its great bands are sure to appreciate this album.
Overall, the album gets 8.5/10. It’s an amazingly strong debut from this new band. It takes all the best elements of 80’s alt rock and new wave and packs it into this record. They use this 80’s sound in a way to make it their own where it doesn’t feel like they’re just trying to be nostalgic. The music is undeniably catchy with dark lyrics that make you sit and think about what growing up really means. Lyxzen has made some great music with his other bands and this album shows that he still can make great music that you can dance to, yet still has a message.