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Album Review

Familjesprickor (Family Cracks) was the last album recorded by the Swedish progressive group originally called Samla Mammas Manna until the group re-formed and released Kaka in 1999, and came after a long period of overseas touring and affiliation with Chris Cutler's Rock in Opposition project, which also included more dissonant groups like Henry Cow and Etron Fou Leloublan. The original drummer, Hans Bruniusson, had left the group in early 1980 and was replaced by a new drummer, Vilgot Hansson, from Stockholm, for tours in France and Belgium. In the liner notes, the group states that Familjesprickor was made during a period of transition, and the music is therefore not as "optimistic and happy" as that on previous Zamla/Samla releases. Indeed, this album is the darkest and most aggressive of any album by any incarnation of the group. The opening track, "Five Single Combats," drives hard and fast right out of the box, and the intensity barely lets up through the rest of the album. There is a bit of a rest on "Ventilation Calculation," where keyboardist Lars Hollmer has brief and wistful solo interludes, but "The Forge" (reprised as "Forge Etude" by Von Zamla on No Make Up! kicks back up again. The album's only vocals are on "Pappa," a demented folk tune with none of the sweetness of the band's earlier work, but overall this is the most avant rock album the Zamlas/Samlas ever produced. [In January of 2008 the Japanese Arcangelo label reissued Familjesprickor, remastered and packaged in a mini-LP sleeve. This reissue was also included in Arcangelo's eight-disc Samla/Zamla Box, featuring all the albums (also remastered and with some bonus tracks, and packaged in mini-LP sleeves) released by Samla Mammas Manna and Zamla Mammaz Manna between 1971 and 1980, along with the Gregory Fitzpatrick album Bildcirkus.]


Formed: 1969

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Perhaps best known as Lars Hollmer's group during the 1970s, the experimental and quirky avant-progressive rock outfit Samla Mammas Manna enjoyed a following in Scandinavia beginning early in that decade. The Samlas were formed in Uppsala, Sweden, in 1969, when their original lineup consisted of keyboardist Hollmer, bassist Lars Krantz, drummer Hans Bruniusson, and percussionist Henrik "Bebben" Öberg. The Samlas recorded at the Chickenhouse, which was so named because it really was built on a former...
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Familjesprickor, Zamla Mammaz Manna
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