Vacum Pang – Du Är D​ö​d! EP

An interesting single from VACUM, a pioneering post-punk band from Northern Sweden who were active in the late ’70s. After some digging into the band’s discography, I found a lot to love on their earlier releases. VACUM had a cool style, sort of a quirkier WIRE, or even JOY DIVISION with an additional female vocalist. They were active for a few years and seem to have had a small but powerful impact on the punk scene at the time. Years later in 2019, they re-recorded their track “Pang – Du Är D​ö​d!” (“Bang – You Are Dead!”) to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of their label Massproduktion. While still maintaining the general vibe of their earlier work, this updated version unfortunately doesn’t work as well. The production is a little too slick and the blaring saxophones during the intro and chorus reminds of third-wave ska, while the verses jerk back to icy post-punk mode, making for a slightly confusing listen. The B-side is an updated demo from 2014 which starts off well but is a bit bland overall. It’s a shame, because VACUM is a band worth looking into—this just isn’t the right place to start. Check out their debut Rädd För Tystnaden 16 Brottstycken Ur 5 Verkligheter for the good shit.

Vacum Rädd För Tystnaden / Korståg 2xLP

I only know VACUM from the perspective of being a very casual collector of early Swedish punk. Rather than being the singles collection I expected, this is their 1980 debut LP with a 2018 recording called Korstag packaged into a gatefold double LP. Starting with the first album, VACUM displays an impressively varied sound injected with elements of punk, post-punk, and even some ’70s progressive rock, making for an engaging listen that remains interesting 40 years later. The songwriting is innovative but retains the urgency of early legends like EBBA GRÖN or KSMB. The Korstag session predictably emanates more modern studio magic and a “mature rock” sound, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t get sucked into some great choruses. At its best, there’s a bit of the rhythmic and vocal command of KILLING JOKE in their reformed sound. To be honest, I don’t think I’d pick Korstag up as a record buyer, so packing it in with the reissue of the debut LP is a well-played move. Massproduktion has been releasing records since all the way back to the bonzer-fide MASSMEDIA and PIZZOAR EPs, so you can rest assured the presentation of this collection is top-notch, though it’s worth noting all liner notes are in Swedish. Reportedly only 210 copies, oh dear.