Best known for his work with much-missed rock n’ roll ass kickers The Hellacopters, where ex-Swedish death metal alumni indulged their love for stomping classic rock with a bad attitude, guitarist Robert Dahlqvist has returned with his first solo record, imaginatively titled Solo (Despotz Records). Those hoping for the balls-out garage fury of his previous outfit will find themselves a tad disappointed however, as this is a far more meditative, introspective work. A musician’s album, if you will.
After the sombre acoustic tones of opening track ‘Jag Va Kött Och Blod’ we are greeted with a variety of styles such as the fluid Status Quo-esque riffing of ‘Redo Nan Gang’ which will please any stray NWOBHM fans to the echoing, picked melodies of ‘Ingrid Isabel’ and the neutered Rory Erickson meanderings of ‘Inte En Dag’. As you may have guessed, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, and while the songs as a whole are easy to tune in and drop out to, it’s not an album that grabs the attention instantly and demands to be heard. But then again, that’s probably not Dahlqvist’s intention.
One major drawback is that the album is sung entirely in Swedish, which should have a significant limit on its widespread appeal. Add in a disparity of styles which means Tygers of Pan Tang-aping dad rockers nestle uncomfortably alongside indulgent, singer-songwriter orientated material and we have a recipe for head scratching rather than nodding. However, the overwhelming feeling is that Dahlqvist is doing this solely for himself and if people happen to play Solo whilst driving down an empty highway or doing the washing up it’s an added bonus. He’s undoubtedly a skilled musician and feels comfortable in his own skin, which is enough in this case.