Ever notice how various parts of the world go through phases based on the bands that call them home, as in Italy is the new Iceland is the new Sweden is the new Britain? So that would make Iceland the new pink, just one step behind Italy’s brown, right?
The sophomore effort from Singapore Sling, which formed in Rejkyavik, Iceland in 2000, is another band’s attempt to recall the Jesus and Mary Chain’s thrashing wail. Unlike other imitators, however, Singapore Sling lacks that special something, that memorable image to make them stand out. When I think of fellow thrash lovers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, I think leather jackets and dangling cigarettes. When I think of Danish duo the Raveonettes, I think whips and horses. But Singapore Sling? Aside from their name — taken from a mixed drink that involves cherry brandy and bitters — nothing sets them apart from all the other Jesus and Mary Chain/Sonic Youth/My Bloody Valentine sound-alikes that have shown up in the last few years.
But even as a predictable mish-mash of great bands that have been there and done that, Singapore Sling may be a harbinger of what music will be like in the next few years. In “Rockit,” vocalist Henrik Bjornsson fits the tone of Luna’s 1997 single “IHOP” (which touches on the sing-song quality of the Vaselines), preparing us for the next trend in music: the return of the ’90s. We’ve already experienced resurgences in ’80s post-punk, mid-’80s Britpop and late-’80s noise. Surely early-’90s alternative music will have its day, too.
The best way to absorb Life Is Killing My Rock ‘n’ Roll is to skip ahead to the last track, “Let’s Go Dancing,” and crank the volume as high as it will go. This six-and-a-half-minute conclusion packs better melody and more evidence of a human presence than the other eleven tracks, which are slightly forgettable. It shows that — like the trends in music that this band makes relevant — there is a great deal of potential.