Music: The mighty world of Märvel
They’re Swedish. They have an umlaut. They dress like superhero cyclists. And they are rather splendid.
Track: Märvel – Metalhead
File under: musical superheroics direct from Bizarro World
Märvel have a new video. It ain’t much to look at but the song is called Metalhead – and it ROCKS.
Watch it here and then read what we said about them last year:
We’ve seen the movies: when contacting a superhero, standard practice is to project their call sign into the night sky with a searchlight. But that seems like hard work when Märvel have a press officer to arrange interviews. And so, at precisely 5pm, a ‘withheld’ call flashes up and the weirdest encounter of this writer’s career begins.
“Superman and Spider-Man,” says The King of his peers, “should stick to fighting crime and leave the rock’n'roll to Märvel. Today I’m chilling by the ocean, preparing for the next battle. We’re fighting a war against crappy music. It’s all over the place: there’s a lot of sissies out there. If rocking and rolling is a crime, then we’re guilty.”
An interview with Märvel requires a certain suspension of disbelief. It would be possible – if you were a joyless, hairsplitting pedant – to remind The King that his birth name is John Steen, that he is a comic-obsessed fantasist with (probably) no superpowers, and that his band was formed in 2002 during an exchange year in Colorado with fellow Swedes Ulrik Bostedt (aka Speedo, bass) and Tony Samuelsson (aka The Vicar, drums). But when bollocks-spouting frontmen are thin on the ground, why would you stop The King mid-flow?
“Elvis is the old king of rock’n'roll,” he says. “I’m the new king. The Vicar comes from a long line of priests, and he thought he could combine his love for rock with his family heritage, preaching rock’n'roll to the people. Speedo is insane. Just let him do his thing; don’t wake the beast. And then of course we have [touring members] The Burgher and The Aviator. So we’re a five-man power trio.”
Talking shit isn’t all Märvel do (although they do it exceptionally well). They’ve already released two albums – debut Five Smell City and 2007′s Thunderblood Heart – and this summer sees the arrival of Warhawks Of War.
“We wanted to see how many ‘wars’ we could get into one album title,” says The King. “In the end it proved to be two. Who inspires us? I would describe it as high-energy rock’n'roll; classic rock with a modern punch, and obviously we’ve been listening to Kiss, the Hellacopters and Turbonegro.”
It seems to be working, with Märvel touring further afield and drawing ever-larger audiences. “Speedo travels by bike,” explains The King. “The rest of us have a big tank, which you can drive with an ordinary driver’s licence. We attract middle-aged, mature women. It’s something about the masks. They just go nuts.”
So what’s the ambition here, we ask. World peace?
“We want to play at the Nobel Prize ceremony,” concludes The King. “That’s the goal. When we’ve done that we’re quitting.”
– Henry Yates