Hörförståelse "Listening Comprehension (1980-1982)" LP
Born out of the instant high of first hearing the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” and the Sex Pistols, Dan Personne and Klas Björkman threw out their hard rock records and formed a band together with creative/doer Anders Sjölander in suburban Stockholm. Taking advantage of Sweden’s close proximity to London, they shuttled back and forth to explore punk and new wave and scoured Rough Trade for the latest sounds. This eventually gave birth to Hörförståelse including new members Mats Wigerdal (formerly of minimal synth legends Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons), Örjan Magnusson and Olle Öfverberg in 1980.
“Förläst Jävel” (which roughly translates as “overeducated bastard”) is one of the keystone DIY punk 45s of the era. Casual ranting over a dizzying bassline and a scrappy keyboard which sounds like it was recorded in the apartment next door, Hörförståelse channels bands like The Fall or The Desperate Bicycles but through an intangible yet somehow distinctly Swedish filter. The band moved a bunch of copies of the record through its own distribution network, which included donating 50 copies to the aforementioned Rough Trade shop in London, but as the story usually goes, the record garnered little attention even domestically. With the punk era starting to wane and Swedish labels increasingly prioritizing English-language bands, there was no one willing to take a chance on Hörförståelse. Thankfully for us, the band went into the studio again in 1982 to record 8 hitherto unreleased songs, making up the backbone of this collection.