A preoccupation with Sweden and its musical exports is one of the tentpoles here at ID:UD, and as luck would have it there’s been no shortage of quality records coming from Moder Svea for us to obsess over. In a year that’s already given us some pretty great albums in the SwEBM (that’s Swedish Electronic Body Music to you non-Borkaboos) spectrum from SPARK! and The Pain Machinery, 2012 also sees the EKProduct debut of Göteborg duo Batch ID, a solid example of the nation’s pop-savvy take take on classic body music.
With a bio that cites a desire to write “electronic pop with a lot of cocky attitude” it’s not overly surprising that Batch ID’s Ni Skrämmer Inte Mig favours a more peppy and upbeat sound across its thirteen songs. Despite being almost fifty minutes in length, the album feels much shorter, due in no small part to a sense of compositional economy that sees only one track (a remix by Guilt Trip) breaking the five minute mark with the majority coming in at under four. It’s a good strategy for Batch ID, and one that works for them in two ways: firstly, the best of their songs have lots of impact and push to them, and secondly, their less substantial numbers end before they have a chance to get tiresome.
Curt, punky songwriting isn’t anything new to EBM, but Batch ID make a meal of each song, letting the best elements of each shine before bailing into the next track, no muss, no fuss. There isn’t a plethora to pick apart about a song like “Som En Tv” with its simple, catchy melody and shouted Swedish vocals, but given that both of those work in concert with one another to deliver a leisurely-paced stomper, why would you feel the need to add anything else? Same for the peppy bassline and drum work on “Spöken” or the skankin’ organ-like lead on “Ge Mig Mer”, each having just enough charm to sustain themselves and are gone before they collapse under their own weight. All these songs work in the moment, and that’s all they need to do.
It may be that I’m in a receptive mood after a few weeks of listening to dense, bleak, and difficult albums, but Batch ID is hitting the sweet spot for me right now. I’ve often said classically styled EBM isn’t about reinventing the wheel (Cog? Gear?), but about the exploration and execution of established forms. There’s a comfort in that, and so long as the artist in question isn’t being totally derivative and can muster a few good hooks it can be a refreshing listen. That’s Batch ID in a nutshell, and while I don’t know whether I’d call Ni Skrämmer Inte Mig a great record, it’s an easy to listen to and enjoy record, and having one of those handy for when the mood strikes is never unwelcome.