Umeå – a modest town in the far north of Sweden has, despite its remote location and unwelcoming weather, proven to be a perfect pasture for creativity. In the 1990’s, its musical trademark was the vegan hardcore punk scene starring bands like Refused. Brothers Peder and Anders Stenberg alongside Thomas Hedlund, young kids back then, were transformed by this vibrant subculture. They discovered the power of music in mosh pits and soon began playing in various hardcore-bands themselves (like Plastic Pride and Reason For Anger). When the time came to rebel against the rebellion, they named themselves Deportees and drew influences from diverse artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Prince and New Order. And suddenly, everything came together.
The celebrated debut album ‘All Prayed Up’ arrived in 2004 and while it won the band solid support among critics and music lovers, along with two Swedish Grammy nominations, their sophomore effort ’Damaged Goods’ from 2006 was met with some confusion. Listeners had expected Deportees to recycle their original formula, but they didn't. There were some who caught on though. During a support live show Deportees had managed to cop the ears of French pop royalty Phoenix, who ended up drafting drummer Thomas to share his time between the two bands and around the same time guitarist Anders was recruited to partner up with Lykke Li as touring band member. Two fruitful collaborations that has continuously evolved for more than a decade and is still ongoing. While Anders and Thomas toured the world, lead singer Peder earned a doctor’s degree in Ethnology.
For their third album, Deportees had to make use of their DIY background and craft an album sans label backing or financial help. 'Under The Pavement, The Beach' from 2009, named for the 1968 Situationist movement's poetic war cry, not only seemed to pave the way for a music scene soon to assume its place on the barricades, it also became the band's first indisputable triumph. The singles were on power radio rotation for months and the album earned the band multiple awards (including the National Swedish Public Radio P3's prestigious ‘Best Pop’ award) and wide critical acclaim.
If album number three came out of determination to settle the score, the opposite was true of album number four - 'Islands and Shores' (2011). This time the music came from a place of confidence and trust and the crowd went mad. 'Islands and Shores' brought on an avalanche of award nominations and fervent acclaim from critics and fans alike. The summer of 2013 found the band scoring the most coveted slots on every major Swedish festival stage and the verdict was unanimous - in terms of delectable, cerebral indie music, Deportees had proved themselves second to none. The album was also awarded with a Swedish Grammy for ‘Best Rock’ and yet another national public radio award. The band took their time polishing the follow up, the gloomy ‘The Big Sleep’ was released in 2015. Once again, the band was blessed with raving reviews and their fan base in Sweden grew even stronger, leading to Deportees selling out even larger venues. Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear made a guest appearance on two songs on the album. ‘The Big Sleep’ was also rewarded with a Swedish Grammy for ‘Best Rock’.
At last, on May 17th Deportees are to return with their highly anticipated new five tracks EP ‘Re-dreaming’. ‘The Big Sleep’ was an apocalyptic album, and it makes sense: Darker times makes for darker music. But even though the world is still very much a terrifying place, Deportees now calls for new dreams – free from nostalgia and dejection.
“‘Re-dreaming’ is a loving assault on the feeling of a lost future. Not because it’s necessarily a false prophecy, but because it’s a dangerous one.”
And the music follows suit. It’s wishful, eager and emotionally engaging. The statements are grand, but the setting is always ordinary, personal and relatable. On the first single, ‘Bright Eyes’, we find the narrator extending an empathetic hand to a friend that can’t stop grieving.
Lead singer Peder Stenberg says:
“There’s a time to cry and a time to heal – in love and in politics. In ‘Bright Eyes’ I encourage a friend to the latter. Not because I don’t sympathize, but because I need this person.”
On the second single, ‘Time Is The Tiger’, we find Deportees picking up the pace. Over a driven beat and a repetitive guitar, we get to spectate an attempted break-out. ‘Time Is The Tiger’ is an ode to the power of music and its promise of something more than simply enduring life.
The majestic ‘Patterns’ is the finale on ‘Re-dreaming’. With its rich and layered arrangements and its patient build towards a cathartic crescendo it serves as the perfect closure for Deportees first release of 2019.
The EP has been produced by Pontus Winnberg (from Miike Snow and Amason), Johannes Berglund (who has worked with The Radio Dept, Ane Brun, Fever Ray etc) and Måns Lundberg (who has worked with Shout Out Louds etc).