Henrik Appel’s debut solo record, Burning Bodies, combines elements of garage rock, singer-songwriter and post-punk in a way that is so strikingly original, it comes off as beautifully, if not shockingly pure.
Being a veteran of the Stockholm garage scene, Appel has long since proven himself to be quite a force of rock, yet here he strips his songs straight down to the bone. There is no pretension, no pomp, no frills; just stark, smoldering songs with razor honest lyrics.
Apart from the occasional subtle and minimalist backing, the songs on Burning Bodies feature mostly just Appel’s uniquely emotive vocals and chilling guitar. This simplistic approach is perhaps the most effective during the album’s more emotionally naked moments, like the nervously burned-out “It Will Be Better Now” and “Dark Is The Night.”
Despite the title, there are moments of beauty and fun tucked away within this strongly personal record. For instance, “Green Eyes” is an angelic ballad that conjures up the most blissful moments of The Velvet Underground and Nico’s solo work. Additionally, “I Put My Makeup On” and “Tomorrow” are fun garage rockers that will get even the most jaded among us to get up and groove along to their rhythms.
If your record collection contains the likes of King Tuff, Rowland S. Howard and Karen Dalton, then you really need to track Henrik Appel’s Burning Bodies.