Swedish quintet Those Without have honed a catchy but edgy pop-punk sound that draws influence from everything from pop, jazz and funk to metalcore, thrash and deathcore.
The quintet hail from the city of Örebro in southern Sweden, where they all attended the same school and their studies always focused on music. They began life as a 2000s skate punk-inspired band started by vocalist Oskar along with Dennis and Felix. However, they soon realised they didn’t identify with that sound before adding Martin and Filip to the mix.
Summarising their sound, Oskar tells us: “If we were to place ourselves in a genre, we’d definitely call ourselves modern pop-punk. The thing is, we all listen to very different types of music so when it comes to actual song writing we’re influenced by a bunch of different bands and artists. Whether it’s pop, metalcore, thrash, deathcore, jazz, funk or anything in between, we’re implementing at least parts of it into our songwriting.”
Those Without released their debut album Bittersweet on Friday (24 September), and it’s safe to say they’re excited about it. As Oskar told us: “We could use every positive and optimistic adjective you’d find in any thesaurus, and it still wouldn’t be enough to describe the pure joy and excitement we’re feeling.
“The thing we love so much about Bittersweet is that you can find a little something for everyone on it, no matter your preference in music. Whether you like heavy music, emotional music, pop-influenced music or anything along those lines you’ll find the tune for you on Bittersweet.”
And the band aren’t wrong about the diversity of this album. For example, its first single release Pink Alligator is probably the catchiest track on the album but also has a heavier edge to it.
It opens up with a bouncy riff supported by a chugging bass, which drops into a laid-back verse that builds up to the infectious chorus “So don’t expect a thing from me, I’m no longer the kid I wish to be, I never look for ways to fix myself, There’s comfort in belonging to someone else, So cover up the tracks you leave behind, Give me time to find a better place to hide, I’m caught inside this frail state of mind, Cause loneliness is glorified.” A second chorus flows into a section of heavier guitars and more intense vocals, before a final blast of the big chorus.
There’s a more pop-punk feeling and more heavy elements to Good Thyme, which features engaging vocals supported by lively guitars and driving drums that build up to a catchy chorus. A second chorus gives way to a section of big screamed vocals, which drop into drawn-out instrumentals and a final blast of the chorus. Check it out here:
The upbeat punky goodness is prevalent in album opener Happy Ever Disaster and penultimate track A Name For Myself. Things get a little heavier with tracks like Voodoo Doll and Under The Weather, then there’s more laid-back tracks like Cleopatra. While it goes out in style with Webspinner, which you can check out below:
So, as the guys tell us, the album really does something for everyone. For example, they have very different ideas about the best song on the album. As Oskar explains: “Another fun thing about Bittersweet that makes sense based on the previous reply is that we all have very different opinions on what the best track is. Oskar: Cleopatra or Pink Alligator; Martin: Voodoo Doll; Felix: Weightless or Happy Ever Disaster; Dennis: Happy Ever Disaster; Filip: Webspinner. And just the fact that we all have such varied opinions on what our favourite tunes are shows that it’s a broad album with something for everyone to enjoy.”
Indeed, the band’s members are big fans of the modern pop-punk scene and heavily influenced by bands like The Story So Far, Neck Deep, State Champs and Boston Manor.
While on what inspires their music, Oskar explains: “As a lyricist, I always write songs based on my own life, perspective and experiences throughout my time on earth. And they often, even if it’s unintentional, turn out to be dark, sad or angry.
“On Bittersweet, I’ve tried to keep myself from purely writing songs that’ll bring the mood down and for once write music that’s uplifting and in good spirits. Good Thyme was the first song we wrote for the album, and it’s just an extremely cheesy love song about the fireworks you feel when falling in love with someone. It’s fun to challenge yourself when it comes to songwriting and it’s definitely resulted in what to me is an amazing album.”
It’s been a while since we featured any Swedish bands, so we asked the guys for their thoughts on their local scene. Oskar told us: “Sweden is an amazing country to live in when it comes to music, but maybe not so much when it comes to the punk/rock/metal scene when you compare it to, for example, the pop or EDM scene.
“What we try to do here in Sweden is keep friends in other bands as close as possible, so that whatever small scene we do have stays alive no matter what. We do have a couple of bands from Sweden that are making it onto bigger things right now, such as Imminence and Normandie and we’re planning on being a band on that list soon as well. If you’re not familiar with us now, we’re definitely going to change that. Those Without are taking over, mark our words!”
From what we’ve heard, there’s no reason why those ambitions of joining the likes of Imminence and Normandie can’t be realised. And there’s plenty more to come from the band, including writing new music and their first live show in nearly two years at a punk-rock festival in Örebro early next month.
Image credit: @o_deezey