Boston's Run For Cover Records has done North America a great favour by bringing Makthaverskan to our shores. Their debut having quickly garnered praise in their native Sweden, the band's 2013 sophomore album II (released here in conjunction with Sweden's Luxury Records), marked them as one to watch. A high-profile North-American live debut at 2015's SXSW that status, and heightened expectations for fresh work.
The potential is fulfilled on III, a visceral and darkly elegant mixture of new wave and indie rock, all delivered with a spiky post-punk edge. That edge continues to come largely in the form of lead vocalist Maja Milner's sharp and emotive wail, which hasn't softened a bit; Siouxsie and the Banshees is the oft-encountered journalistic touchstone, but younger listeners might find the recent Alvvays record a more relevant reference. Milner often occupies the same ethereal timbre as Molly Rankin, but slips more readily into harder-edged, confrontational tones. Open-minded listeners should be able to make the jump easily, especially after the early one-two-punch of "Leda" and "In My Dreams," both of which readily embrace pop structures without sacrificing any of their raw urgency.
When "Witness" shortly follows things up with a full-throated scream from Milner over a guitar line that seems to lift its first half from the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black," you'll be fully on board. The album's second half is just as strong, too, flirting with brooding Interpol-style mysteriousness during the bridge of "Front" before stripping back the ferocity for "Days Turn Into Years," the album's poignant closer. You'll likely be a fan long before that, though.
III is a musically infectious and insistent album that for many North American listeners will be their first contact with Makthaverskan. Those with a penchant for reverb-soaked new wave guitars lines looking for a harder, more modern twist on the sound will find much to like here, as will any punk-leaning indie fan on the lookout for new talent. Makthaverskan seem poised for a high-profile 2018. (Run For Cover)