Torsson

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With extremely prosaic lyrics and lacking instrumental skills, Torsson rose to fame something of a novelty band in the early '80s.
It is unclear how serious the band's intentions were initially, but as they sang songs about an uneventful picnic or an agricultural fair, they were verging on poetry -- of course their own unique and intentionally dull poetry. In the early '80s Torsson's amateurish attitude towards music and their overly gentle melodies put them in a position were they could be seen both as strange hometown relatives to punk rock, and as its opposite. They kept their popularity throughout the century, but in the '90s, they were much less active, and while not disbanding, Torsson gave many signs of dying.
Torsson was formed in 1976 in Lund, Sweden, by a number of hobby musicians, led by guitarist and singer Åkerström. The inspiration came from classic rock & roll as well as from country rock á la Credence Clearwater Revival, but the band was also a product of the Swedish progressive rock scene in the '70s, which stressed the do it yourself aspect of rock music. And with quite an inept band, consisting of trumpet player Lundahl, drummer Dalén, and guitarists Drejare and Svenningsson, the resulting music lay very far from the influences. In many ways it reminds of what would later be known as lo-fi, and it suited the inconclusive lyrics in a fascinating way. Torsson's had their first gig in November 1976 at a theater in Lund, and the following years saw the band playing student venues around town, hardly even attaining local fame. In 1979 they started out on a more serious career, releasing their first single, "Gå Emot Strömmen," on Kloaak. Drejare and Svenningsson left the band and Wiberg joined; two singles included on a Swedish pop compilation were followed by the recording of the debut album. By now drummer Sticky Bomb from Kriminella Gitarrer had joined the band and Att Kunna Men Inte Vilja was released in 1980, including the big hit "Det Spelades Bättre Boll," which the band would be identified with for the following 20 years.
When Torsson broke up in 1981 because Åkerström moved to San Diego to do microbiological research, Sticky Bomb left the group to play with Wilmer X. Åkerström came back in 1983 and Torsson reunited, now including drummer Manzini and bassist Persson. En Rökare I Krysset was released in 1984 and the following years were the most active in the band's career, with a number of nationwide tours and a growing following. A third album was recorded in 1987 but was reworked two years later with the help of Holst from Wilmer X and Möller from Buckaroos, and finally released as En Svensk Tiger. The inclusion of skilled musicians led to an album that sounded musically better than anything Torsson had released before, but ironically this was also it's weakness. Closing in on mainstream pop when it came to the music, if not the lyrics, Torsson lost some personality. The group's fame declined in the '90s, and as it happened, the members concentrated more on their civil careers, being teachers, scientists, and physicians. Island of Hawaii was released in 1994, and throughout the '90s, Torsson played occasional concerts and released their first live album, Elvamannalag. Again regarded as a marginal novelty band and in practice being a hobby band, Torsson had came close to were they had started their career more than 20 years earlier. ~ Lars Lovén, Rovi

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