Review Summary: Jorm creates an album that is slightly obscured by influences and indulgence, but overall still sounds great.
In all my life, I have developed a theory. In order for any musical group to truly be deep underground in any specific genre, it shouldn’t be known by more than 100 people until about 40 years later. And who knows whether anyone even in Sweden knew this group back in the 1970s. That’s what I deem to be considered a deep underground act by my own standard. But WHAT does that matter? Because there are so many examples of groups like Jorm, a Swedish prog rock band that record over 40 years ago and didn’t get listened to other than Sweden until about recently. And quite frankly, the result is magnificent.
Jorm’s progressive rock influences are rewarding for what they do in Theory of Anything. Take for example, there is an obvious influence in the self-titled track to Genesis’s famous piece, Supper’s Ready. But unlike creating a complete copy, Frederik Anderson makes more Swedish friendly recipe, and differences are made. The same is done with the whole album as well. Cosmopolitan and Newspeak sound very similar to Yes’ Siberian Khatru and Maternity Frathouse gets its influences from And You and I. However, there is a small problem behind this. Had no one been told what this actually was, it could’ve been mistaken for a Swedish cover mix-up of Yes or Genesis. So, Jorm’s influences on this album stand both as a weakness and a strong point.
Influences aren’t the only things that make this album worth listening to. Frederik Anderson’s trippy Swedish vocals are also another cool part of this album. He may difficult to understand so it could go either way for a person listening to this. The Swedish accent would obviously stand as new concept for anyone who’s not Swedish, as they may find it time consuming to figure out the lyrics. And by the time the listener does, he or she might find them quite ridiculous. Take some of the lyrics from Theory of Anything for example:
Sunday strolling down the hallway
Lunch is free and so are you
I dare you to walk out at night where parklamps can't reach with their light
Instant coffee, make your mark now, I've got somewhere else to be
There's a certain brand of people for whom I got trees to trade
Ma and pa, can I stay out late on friday?
I promise to keep off all things unholy, I've read the news
And I'm sure they care for me and you
These lyrics may not be as easy to take seriously. On the other hand, it may prove to be an advantage for carefree music fanatics who just want to hear Anderson’s accents.
When listening to each of the instruments in A Theory of Anything, there is a definite sign that keyboards easily dominate this album. They still point in a direction of psychedelia if none of the other instruments are included, which is no surprise. Jorm’s self-titled debut debut was abundant with psychedelic rock everywhere, and it would take until their fourth album, Veritas, to fully leave it. However, upon adding the guitar, bass, and drums, a heavier presence of progressive rock is put on full display, Swedish style. And with the prog rock genre, commonly comes the element of overindulgence. Jorm wasn’t quite that way, though. Their music was controlled to a point that it didn’t go on forever nor did any of the band members get lost in super solos. However, their influences may be their closest connection to any form of indulgence, which stands as a weakness. But overall, it doesn’t majorly hurt the album.
Altogether, A Theory of Anything was an improvement from the debut, leading slowly in the prog rock precursor. This was obviously shown through giveaway influences, which Jorm shouldn’t get too unoriginal with. However, with the band’s interesting vocalist and the rest of the band entering the prime of their prog rock days and entered the underground generation that few knew about, there shouldn’t be too much to regret about.