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Rocket Recordings

The Janitors - An Error Has Occurred

The Janitors - An Error Has Occurred

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“Everything’s been fucked since David Bowie died or they started up the Hadron Collider,” say The Janitors. This feeling is epitomised in the title of their riveting new album: An Error Has Occurred.

Marking over two decades of activity for the Swedish psych-rockers, the recording is informed by heartbreak and loss as well as the dismal state of the entire planet. For The Janitors, these two polarities intertwine constantly: “What’s personal is political and vice versa.”

To channel their frustration and anger, the band revived certain songs they’d shelved during the pandemic when working on the acclaimed Noisolation Sessions. They added others, written since, that suited the mood of sticking a middle finger up to the oppressive world around us.

Whereas previous recordings were often layered up gradually, this time the full band (Henric Herlenius, Jonas Eriksson, Anders Thorell and Wilhelm Tengdahl) rehearsed intensely together before laying down everything live, over two days and nights, in a converted missionary church.

The songs on Side A have the menace of Melvins, the swagger of The Stooges and the cosmic heft of The Heads. These are the more simply constructed and poppier pieces... or so the band believe. (One friend of theirs did consider this “delusional”.)

‘In A Bliss’ acts as the album’s radiant centrepiece. A palette-cleansing love song which recalls The Jesus And Mary Chain at their most starry eyed, it finds The Janitors searching for solace and strength in straightforward companionship.

After this come the dronier numbers, drawn out with soundscapes and textures influenced by The Velvet Underground’s sonic experiments and the equally immersive atmospheres of electronic acts like Massive Attack. Hence, ‘Operator’ swings threateningly like a space-rock Swans, while the approach on ‘Farewell Spacegirl’ is jazzier and more meditative.

“It can be hard to muster up some, or even any, positive energy at this point in time,” says Henric. “We are eternally grateful to have the creative output that this constellation gives us. Neither me or Jonas would probably be here, or be the same people we are, if it wasn’t for The Janitors. We’ll leave you with a quote from an old anarchist: ‘Every society gets the criminals it deserves.’”

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