Forgive me for taking in vain the name of a superstitious conceit I don't believe in, but…wow! A seismic pop event is scheduled for July 21 in London, and suddenly flying there for two days looks like an imperative. I'm referring to a triple bill of BWO, Army of Lovers and Alcazar—that would be three of the greatest acts ever to come out of Sweden in the past 20 years. I choked a little when I saw that announcement, especially since both Army of Lovers and Alcazar are officially disbanded and are thus reuniting for the occasion.
All three, uncoincidentally, are linked by mastermind Alexander Bard—pop genius, essayist, breeder of racing horses and zoroastrian extraordinaire. It's hard to understimate the shock that Bard's project Army of Lovers (pictured) created in the early 90s: Imagine a group of flamboyant characters—and I really mean characters—looking like Prince's gay band and singing baroque disco. (For a good look at Bard himself, he takes the lead in this classic AoL video.) After AoL ended, he worked with Alcazar, cowriting a lot of its material without actually being in the band; I chose to post an Alcazar song that, like half of that group's catalogue, incorporates a Chic sample—it sometimes felt as if Alcazar was a perverse, pomo cover band. After Alcazar split, Bard started up Bodies Without Organs, which later shortened its name to BWO. Like Alcazar before, BWO tried to enter Eurovision but despite coming up with at least one fab, could-have-won-the-whole-enchilada monster (which was in my top ten of 2006), it didn't make it out of the Swedish national selection process. Pity.
The only major Bard project missing on the London bill is Vacuum, in which he reteamed with Army of Lovers' Anders Wollbeck for a pair of albums in the mid- to late 90s before leaving (the band still exists but sounds rather different). To make up for it I included Vacuum's biggest hit, "I Breathe," in my mini Bard tribute.
MP3 Army of Lovers "Crucified" from Massive Luxury Overdose (1993)
MP3 Vacuum "I Breathe" from The Plutonium Cathedral (1996)
MP3 Alcazar "I Go Shopping" from Alcazarized (2003)
MP3 BWO "Juggernaut" from Halcyon Days (2006)
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