album reviews

Out of My Head
Slimstyle Records (2011)

Kindred spirits: Benny Goodman, Gorillaz, Danger Mouse.

Pairing hip-hop and swing may seem like an unusual combination, particularly for a trio from a small town in Sweden. But brothers Johan and Anders Rensfeldt and Joakim Nilsson of the band Movits! fuse the two skillfully with their second album, "Out of My Head", blending the rhythms of hip-hop and the energy of swing for a joyously up-tempo, danceable sound.

The group's name is apparently a reference to a character from author Carl Michael Bellman. But it might as well be an allusion to the movement inherent in Movits! music, from the feisty horns on "Sammy Davis Jr." and slithering melody on "I Andrahand" to the saucy, pointed "na-na's" that beg for a singalong on "Na Na Nah!" Even the slower-paced "Pa Drift, Norrbotten" settles into a smoky groove, thanks to the rhythmic pacing of vocalist Johan Rensfeldt¿s lyrics.

Rensfeldt sings some songs in English, but the more compelling ones are those in his native tongue. Not only does his cadence on tracks such as "Vad Dom an Sager" provide even more percussive momentum, but the mystery behind the lyrics gives the listener the freedom just to move to the music, instead of trying to discern actual words.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 6 May 2011
.: Out of My Head on