Surrounded - Oppenheimer and Woodstock - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Surrounded - Oppenheimer and Woodstock

by James Bray Rating:5.5 Release Date:2010-10-11

Oppenheimer and Woodstock is Swedish group Surrounded's third album. This band have been heavily influenced by groups like Pink Floyd and The Flaming Lips. Such progressive foundations coupled with Marten Rydell's breathy vocals mean they come off sounding like Mercury Rev. All the conventions of worthy alt rock are here from the grandiose song structures and the rousing chord progressions to the ethereal orchestral arrangements.

However, Surrounded's epic aspirations are all too often thwarted by their own limitations. The band's members are obviously disciplined acolytes of alternative music but this album just comes across as being derivative and sentimental. The maudlin sensiblities of the group undermmine the arm-chair transcendentalism of their music, leaving us with an album that is monotonous in its ambient pretensions.

That isn't to say that this group has no talent; they are highly proficient as a unit but the final product just lacks depth and integrity. Even the title, Oppenheimer and Woodstock, is the conflation of two iconic, if rather uninspired, emblems of America. Their fascination with Americana highlights the fact that they are emulating other groups, such as the aforementioned Flaming Lips, rather than really creating something for themselves.

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