I've seen this band lumped in with the likes
Stills, and Radio 4 as 80's revivalists. Yet with Sweden's
The Search, there is a subtle difference. Where their peers
sound exactly what they are –- modern bands tapping into that
post punk nostalgia vibe -- The Search sound as though they
WERE from that era. These records feel more at home alongside
the original artists than they might amongst the latest wave
of New Wave. It's a remarkable feat. A time machine to one
of the most exciting and vibrant moments music has enjoyed.
I understand the second CD here comprises two remastered mini
albums. They bundle well together. On Bloodbathe, Six
Year Eclipse begins proceedings like an early, lost Cocteau
Twins instrumental. Desert Strand meanwhile is an
epic of colossal proportions. The usually breathy, intimate vocals
shifting into an exultant, rallying cry. (Think: Then Jericho,
Icicle Works, Waterboys…)
The atmospheric keys and synths of Bloodbathe offer a lush backdrop for deeply interwoven guitars showcasing a band unafraid to be sensitive or vulnerable. The dreamy melancholia and psuedo-psychedelic mysticism of the lyrical content and melodies would surely appeal to fans of The
Church or Convent, and especially to those who followed Adrian Borland's solo career after The Sound. Stuffed Little Men, with its triumphant saxophone fanfare, is a good example of one of the many 24 caret, Borland, anthems (or anti-anthems) on show.
Bazaar… is no less majestic. Witness how the lovingly crafted guitar finale to Crystal Sisters gives way to the tribal drum intro of The Weak Will Go Under. Clearly something very special is at work.
To the first disc then and on their earlier, self-titled album, The Search
unveil a more pop-orientated collection. This, albeit a familiar indie-pop,
driven by rumbling, Gallup-esque, bass with dark rhythms that revisit Disintegration with élan.
There's a naivety on display here that only lends this record warmth and charm. Love
shock fizzes giddily with Flock Of Seagulls guitars while I Didn't Raise
No Fool chimes like the bastard offspring of a Felt/Lowlife liaison.
This early version of The Search reveals an adolescent duality, sure-footed yet hesitant (like the shy boy who's actually been taught how to dance.) When they let themselves go (Infection), they do so with an endearing redness to the cheek. Knowing now the maturity they will progress toward (see above), this is the source of almost parental pride.
Given the earlier Borland comparisons, it comes as no surprise that the best moments on this disc recall The Sound. Unashamedly anthemic as well as offering imaginative, almost poetic lyrics to render any gloom jibes overly simplistic.
Anyone familiar with the most obscure (and therefore often best) new wave acts the 80s had to offer will undoubtedly adore The Search. Yet such fans will need all their meticulous powers of investigation to even chance upon this fabulous band. I did so only via the bands family tree connections with countrymen Jeniferever. Outside of their native Uppsala, it appears they remain a guarded secret. I guess it's up to us now whether we passively let this secret endure?