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The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule

Mattias Beijmo – Guitar
Jimmy Jönsson – Vocals
William Blackmon – Drums
Pär Laurén – Bass

The 80/20 Rule

When the band asked me to write this, I hadn't heard the album or seen them live. So I declined. They insisted, and said that the other option was that some hack from the record company would do it, which at least one band member claimed would lead to him inflicting bodily harm to himself. Then I heard the album and saw them live, and I honestly was swept off my feet. I therefore agreed to write down my thoughts about them.

Bringing their product to the over-saturated music marketplace, The 80/20 Rule has above all two Unique Selling Points - Songs and a Frontman (capital letters please). It becomes evident when hearing their debut that the songs are a bit above the usual indeischmindie - main writer Mattias Beijmo clearly has a knack for channelling his inner life into epic, melodic tracks. Reviews seem to relate the band with Manic Street Preachers and early Radiohead, but to me they are a cousin to more contemporary bands like Editors, Interpol and Bloc Party. Mattias Beijmo says he’s inspired by contemporary American literature, and yes – there are some clear nods to Dave Eggers and Douglas Coupland, but I think he’s overanalyzing this a bit. The thing the songs and lyrics have in common with the aforementioned is their ability to define angst and self-doubt in a way that strikes a nerve. In “Black Waters” he asks: ‘Have you ever lost your way? Then you know.’, and if you know – young or old – then some of the songs might be tales from your life, not his.

Seeing the band live, another dimension is unveiled. The beat is faster, the sound is grittier, and frontman Jimmy is as far from shoegaze as they come. Liberated from the chores of playing an instrument, he totally controls the stage and the audience. It may seem silly to write, but I have not seen any artist with this stage presence in many, many, years. He reminds me of Dave Gahan and Michael Hutchence (hopefully without the preference for junk and unhealthy sex), but also of a young Nick Cave. I am convinced someone will give this man and his crew a bigger stage to prowl.

I really don’t know much about the usual stuff you read in biographies like these, but the band ensured me they were fine with that. I know that William and Mattias produced the album with the guy that produced Refused, and that the band formed in Gavle, Sweden. For more stuff on the band, ask the record company or go to their website.

Jonathan Smith, writer and critic.

Releases

The 80/20 Rule - Northeast

Press Photos

  • The 80/20 Rule press photo (by Carl Dahlstedt)
  • © Carl Dahlstedt
  • The 80/20 Rule press photo (by Johan Waltari)
  • © Johan Waltari
  • The 80/20 Rule press photo (by Johan Waltari)
  • © Johan Waltari
  • The 80/20 Rule press photo (by Johan Waltari)
  • © Johan Waltari
  • The 80/20 Rule press photo (by Johan Waltari)
  • © Johan Waltari